THE family of a woman who died in Bootham Park Hospital have said its closure is a 'disaster' for York.

Susan Miles died on December 16 of suffocation by a plastic bag, aged 48. Staff found Susan's body in her bedroom. They attempted CPR but she was declared dead later that day. An inquest into her death was held yesterday, where Coroner Jonathan Leach recorded an open conclusion.

The court heard that Ms Miles had had a long and troubled history of mental health issues, stretching back to 1986 when she was 19. A pathologist's report said she had self-harmed over many years. She suffered paranoid psychosis and also anorexia, for which she was admitted into the centre for eating disorders at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds.

She went into Bootham Park as an inpatient in November 2014.

Elizabeth Grover, Ms Miles's sister, said that she asked her at the time why she wanted to die. She replied: "I don't think I want to die. I just want all this in my head to stop."

Dr Jacqueline Holland, consultant psychiatrist at Bootham Park, said: "Susan was clear with us that she felt safe in hospital. We did assess the risk of self harm as being ongoing but the risk of her ending her life while in hospital was low."

The court heard that reducing access to plastic bags was almost impossible in an open ward, where people were free to come and go.

Her sister Ms Grover said of Bootham Park Hospital: "The care she was given at the hospital was good.

"It's a disaster that York has now got nowhere for anybody to go. This was the last resort for Susan - it would have scared her to have nowhere to go.

"She didn't want to go into hospital, but she knew she had to."

Ms Miles was born in York and attended the now-closed Knavesmire school. She worked as a call handler for the ambulance service. A staff member at Bootham said that when she met Susan, she found her "warm and engaging".

The court heard that Susan was particularly upset at the time because a community nurse she had been seeing for around ten years was leaving her post.

David Duffy, an independent consultant who undertook an investigation into the incident, said: "I can't fault the efforts of the staff to prepare her for this transition, and indeed I commend them for it."

Much of the coroner's questioning focussed on the regularity of the observations that were made of Ms Miles. Anthony Deary, director of nursing at Leeds and York partnership, said that in the wake of her death the Trust is now reviewing their observation routines and that risk assessment tools were being improved - both changes endorsed by Mr Duffy.