Nimo Younis: Coroner tells police and NHS staff to improve communication after Barnsbury mental health patient’s death

Senior coroner Mary Hassell. Picture: Archant

Senior coroner Mary Hassell. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A coroner has told police and health bosses to improve their communication after a mental health patient from St Pancras Hospital was found dead after going AWOL.

Nimo Younis, 37, was detained in the psychiatric intensive care unit of the hospital under the Mental Health Act, but did not return after being granted unescorted leave on January 24 last year.

Staff at Camden and Islington NHS Trust (C&I) called police to report that the personal trainer and artist from Barnsbury was missing, but her disappearance was only deemed "high risk" at 5pm the next day.

Now senior coroner Mary Hassell has written a prevention of future deaths report, calling on the trust and the police to develop a better understanding.

Writing to Met commissioner Cressida Dick and C&I CEO Angela McNab, Ms Hassell said C&I ward staff did "not have a proper understanding of what action the MPS would take in what circumstances" or what action police "required others to take in order to prompt the police to progress the matter further".

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She added ward staff "did not have a practical plan as to how to take that action with the resources at their disposal" or "what key information they needed to provide the MPS to trigger a missing person enquiry or to escalate an existing enquiry".

Ms Hassell also said NHS staff did not fully utilise the "significant potential" or Ms Younis's friends, who were ultimately the route by which she was found hanged. She added that they would "certainly have acted sooner if they had appreciated the lack of action being taken".

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Ms Hassell said police did not have all the information available when making decisions, which was put down to "resourcing issues" during the inquest.

She said: "Whether or not there is an agreement between the MPS and trust about who should be doing what, there must be clarity about what information the MPS needs in order to make the best decisions.

"If the situation preceding Nimo Younis's death is to be avoided in future, the MPS needs to set out its position simply and clearly and the trust needs to ensure all relevant staff truly understand the position and are equipped to act accordingly. This needs to include a recognition that different organisations may have different definitions of the same terms."

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