Parents criticise daughter's care following overdose deathBy Hugh Fort
May 24, 2012
The parents of a “multi-talented and beautiful” girl, who died after overdosing on her father’s medication, have criticised the care she received from mental health professionals.
Staff at Maidenhead Community Mental Healthcare Team defended their actions during an inquest into the death of Rachel Rayner, of Ashley Hill Place, Wargrave, last week.
Rachel’s father Adrian Rayner told the inquest at Windsor Guildhall last Wednesday and Thursday that he and wife Jane were unhappy with the team’s plans for their daughter’s care.
He said: “What needed to be done quickly wasn’t done, there was no urgency.”
Rachel, 19, who went to Bradfield College, near Reading, took the overdose of medication her father was on, on December 7, 2010, the inquest heard last week.
She had been suffering from serious mental health problems which became worse when she split up with her boyfriend and learned her community psychiatric nurse Hannah Pearce was leaving.
Rachel had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in August 2010 having been treated at The Priory clinic in London in 2009. The inquest heard her parents did not know what to do to help her, adding she “couldn’t cope with life” and “she was in a crisis”.
The inquest heard Rachel had a history of self-harming, which had led to hospital trips in the past, and that she had heard voices in her head telling her to do “stupid things”.
Rachel was registered with consultant psychiatrist Dr Bridget Gemal, who denied claims from Mr and Mrs Rayner that Rachel had decided to stop working with her because she thought she was a bully and that the treatment plan would not work.
Mr Rayner added: “There didn’t seem to be any compassion or understanding that I was the parent of a very sick child.”
Dr Gemal told Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford the team had suggested a course of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) might be best for Rachel.
However, she said the treatment could take “months or even years” to work and was dependent on co-operation from the patient, which she claimed the team did not get.
She said Rachel’s parents were provided with paperwork at the time, and that they declined face-to-face meetings on the situation.
In recording a narrative verdict, Mr Bedford said: “Miss Rayner’s parents had expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of their daughter’s progress, had questioned the diagnosis and the approach adopted by the psychiatrist and were seeking a second opinion at the time of her death.
“While Miss Rayner undoubtedly deliberately consumed her father’s medication, the evidence is doubtful as to intention as she was prone to impulsive behaviour without a sense of the consequences of her actions.”
After the verdict, Mr Rayner said he wants to work alongside the trust to stop other young people suffering in the same way.