NHS chiefs admit new mother’s death was ‘preventable’

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NHS chiefs have admitted a new mother who took her life after falling seriously ill with post-natal depression could have survived if she had been admitted to hospital for specialist help.

Former nurse Joanne Bingley died aged 39 in April 2010 when she was struck by a train in Deighton, Huddersfield, 10 weeks after the birth of her daughter Emily.

Her husband Chris is mounting a long-running campaign to get better treatment from the NHS for women with the condition and has launched legal action over her case.

Now bosses at the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have submitted legal documents admitting it breached its duty towards Mrs Bingley by failing to raise the option of inpatient care for her, given the severity of her condition.

It also admitted that had it admitted her for treatment, it was likely she would not have taken her life and made a “reasonable recovery” from post-natal depression.

Mr Bingley, 45, of Huddersfield, said the admissions vindicated his efforts nearly four years after the death of his wife, known to friends as Joe, but it should not have taken so long for NHS to concede its failings. He was angry women with the condition were still not receiving the treatment they needed and the NHS was not learning the lessons from a catalogue of tragedies, branding the provision of mental healthcare for new mothers “appalling”.

“In terms of moving forward lessons have not been learned and people are still dying unnecessarily,” he said.

Tim Breedon, director of nursing, clinical governance and safety at the NHS trust, said: “Joanne Bingley’s death was a terrible tragedy and sympathies are reiterated to her family. The circumstances surrounding Joanne’s death and the care and treatment she received were examined carefully by the coroner, and by an independent investigation. The trust has recently responded to a letter of civil claim. This is part of an ongoing case which is in its early stages and therefore we cannot comment further.”