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Settlement after Tamworth woman's fire death

  • 7-26-2015

The daughter of a woman who died when she set herself on fire hours after leaving a mental health unit has received compensation, a law firm said.

Angela Rich, 61, of Tamworth, repeatedly told staff at The George Bryan Centre in the town that she had suicidal thoughts, Irwin Mitchell said.

It said she left the hospital in 2013 after asking a nurse if she could.

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said improvements had been made.

The law firm said it had secured a partial admission from the trust, which runs the centre, and daughter Naomi Rich had now received an undisclosed settlement from the trust.

Angela Rich, who had a long history of mental health problems and repeatedly self-harmed, left the hospital in August 2013 after stating she was not going to come back, Irwin Mitchell said.

'Appalling care'

It said she was seen on CCTV carrying a black petrol can and was found by a dog walker under a railway bridge in Bolehall on fire.

In a statement released by the law firm, 43-year-old Dr Rich, from Lichfield, said her mother should not have been able to leave on the day she died.

She said: "As a doctor myself, a carer for my mother and also as a patient at the same mental health trust as my mother, I have seen psychiatric care from several angles

("I) have witnessed appalling care which I believe needs to change radically from within the NHS."

In a statement, the trust said it was "a tragic set of circumstances" and "Angela's family have our deepest sympathies".

It said: "We fully investigated the circumstances surrounding this serious incident and an action plan was developed and implemented to make improvements to our services, which was accepted by the coroner at the inquest.

"Such improvements included more structured clinical supervision and training of clinical staff in understanding and treating personality disorders."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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