A YORK grandfather who took his own life was let down by mental health services in the city, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Pratt took his own life at his home in Lime Tree Avenue, New Earswick, on December 9, after begging in vain to be sectioned following a battle with his mental health.

The 54-year-old had formerly worked in the building trade but had been unable to work due to a back injury for several years. He had been prescribed painkillers and antidepressants, and had sought help in the weeks prior to his death from his GP and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).

The only further options he was given included telephone helplines and the inquest heard he made “numerous calls”, but a face-to-face appointment was never offered.

Neil McAdam, TEWV’s locality manager for York, told the inquest problems with computer systems meant mental health professionals were unable to access Mr Pratt’s historic records and opportunities for improved treatment were missed.

He said: “In my opinion, it would have triggered face-to-face assessment that could have led to Mr Pratt being placed on home-based treatment, more intensive treatment. It could have also triggered admission to the hospital if risks were deemed significant enough, either voluntarily or under the mental health act.”

John Broadbridge, assistant coroner, concluded Mr Pratt committed suicide by overdose.

After the inquest, The Press was shown a letter from executive director of nursing and governance for TEWV, Elizabeth Moody, to Mr Pratt’s daughter, Cheryl Pratt.

In it, Ms Moody said a serious incident investigation had been carried out and determined errors had been made by the Trust.

She said: “The investigation identified that some aspects of the care and treatment your father received fell below the usual standards expected by the Trust; for this I would like to apologise.”

Mr Pratt’s son Chris told The Press he was disgusted with the trust’s actions and apology.

He said: “I don’t think it’s been handled very well. People need a lot more support, not just a paragraph saying sorry, that’s not enough.

“Sorry isn’t good enough. I just hope it saves other lives, that’s all I can hope. I can’t believe they have said someone should have met him face-to-face and all they did was phone him up. That’s disgusting.”

Cheryl Pratt said her father’s death could have been prevented if TEWV had assessed his care correctly, and highlighted problems with the service.

She said: “No apology makes up for it but I think the way they went about it is not a patch on what we have had to go through.

“There shouldn’t have needed to be an apology; they should have done what they are there to do. People put trust in the health system. If there had been an operation that had gone wrong and someone had died, it would be a bigger thing. This is just as serious as that, but they don’t see it like that because it’s mental health, not physical.”

In a statement, Elizabeth Moody told The Press work had been done since Mr Pratt’s death to improve access to patients’ medical histories.

She said: “Since this sad incident we have reviewed the way we work and have made changes - we have set up a new access team, meaning we can respond better to people’s needs.

“We have also strengthened arrangements for our staff to be able to access the records of our patients who were previously cared for by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, meaning staff will always have information about a patient’s previous history.”

l Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. The NHS 24/7 crisis service in York is on 01904 526582. If somebody is at serious risk of harm you should call 999. York Mind offers support on 01904 643364.