Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 15:35 UK

Health trust says sorry to family

Leon Laga
The trust said sorry to Leon Laga's family

A health trust has apologised to the family of a man in its care who died from a drugs overdose on the steps of a police station.

Leon Laga, of Kidderminster, was being treated by Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership Trust and died in 2005.

Following an inquest the trust said shortfalls in its communication and planning had contributed to the 24-year-old's death, but it had improved.

The family said it accepted the trust's apology and hoped lessons were learnt.

'Urgent requests ignored'

Mr Laga, who had a long history of self-harm and complex psychiatric problems, was not offered a coherent treatment approach by the trust, an inquest at Stourbridge Coroner's Court heard.

Coroner Geraint Williams said urgent requests from the psychology department were ignored by other mental health departments and resulted in no change to Mr Laga's care.

He said Mr Laga had failed to receive even a basic level of consistent care, his family were left out of the loop, and he was not told who to contact or what to do in the event of a crisis.

In a narrative verdict, the coroner said Mr Laga had acted impulsively and did not mean to take his own life on 15 January, however police had treated him kindly and humanely in his last hours, when he turned up on their doorstep.

'Appalling errors'

He added there was nothing police could have done to prevent what happened.

In a statement read by the family's solicitor, Mr Laga's mother said: "In the course of the last week we have heard an appalling catalogue of failings and errors.

"Leon was a kind, gentle and caring young man, much loved by family and friends. He was troubled but had the full support of his family.

"Sadly both he and his family were let down by the professional carers and this contributed to his untimely death."

'Substantial improvements'

Dr Ros Keeton, the trust's chief executive, said: 'We offer our most sincere apologies to Leon's family and friends.

"We hope they can accept our assurance that the trust has made substantial improvements in the years since Leon's death."

The trust recently received an excellent annual rating from the Healthcare Commission based on a combination of patient feedback and staff self-assessment.

Man died on police station steps
20 Oct 08 |  Hereford/Worcs
Man found outside station named
18 Jan 05 |  Hereford/Worcs

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