Father of Emily Jones hits out as review of GMMHT finds actions of patient that killed his daughter ‘could not have been predicted

The father of Emily Jones has criticised mental health services after they claimed her death could not have been ‘predicted or prevented’.

‘The failings are clearly and comprehensively addressed in their review but they still continue to relinquish all responsibility for the actions that lead to my daughter’s death.’

The seven-year-old was killed by Eltiona Skana, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenic who had previously been sectioned over outbursts of violence.

The 30-year-old was well-known to the local mental health services and had been under the care of a community nurse who would regularly check in on her.

For a three-month period before the attack, Skana’s nurse had been off sick and she had fallen out of regular contact with mental health teams.

Later, when police searched her home they discovered a month’s worth of unused anti-psychotic medication which should have been taken to treat the symptoms of her condition, including paranoid delusions of people trying to hurt her.

She has since been found guilty of manslaughter by means of diminished responsibility and was handed a life sentence and a hospital order in December last year.

Greater Manchester Mentalh Health NHS Trust (GMMH) – the organisation responsible for Skana’s care – said they had undertaken a serious incident review into her handling but concluded that the killing ‘could not have been predicted or prevented’.

The review, now seen by The M.E.N., dictates a number of failings in the care of the former Albania national. 

The report acknowledged that Skana’s risk assessment document – intended to give mental health nurses an idea of the dangers she might pose – missed out key events, including an incident in 2017 where she visited the home of a friend and demanded to see the woman’s 13-year-old daughter while she was thought to have been carrying a knife.

It also detailed the conclusions of her community nurse, who noted that the 30-year-old had regularly appeared paranoid through late 2019 and had begun to experience ‘intrusive thoughts’.

Skana was switched from injected anti-psychotics to tablets in August 2019 and was expected to approach her doctor when she needed more pills. The review pointed out that the Bolton mental health team had ‘no established system to recognise when an individual would have been running out of medication’.

Her last contact with her nurse came on March 11, just over a week before the attack on Emily, but the notes from that meeting were not entered into the service’s systems until much later, with the nurse explaining that she had other patients to prioritise and was about to go off on leave.

Investigators noted that Skana’s sister had told doctors early on in her illness that she would not always take her medication as she was prescribed and repeated the claims in further interviews following Emily’s death.

And, the review included references to a vicious attack by Skana on her own mother in February 2017. She had barricaded the two of them in a room and then hit her mother over the head with an iron during what was believed to be a psychotic episode, jurors heard at last year’s trial.

However, despite the evidence of previous violence towards others, threatening behaviour involving a child and the lack of medication monitoring, the review concluded that the attack on Emily ‘could not have been predicted or prevented’.

Investigators noted that Skana’s sister had told doctors early on in her illness that she would not always take her medication as she was prescribed and repeated the claims in further interviews following Emily’s death.

And, the review included references to a vicious attack by Skana on her own mother in February 2017. She had barricaded the two of them in a room and then hit her mother over the head with an iron during what was believed to be a psychotic episode, jurors heard at last year’s trial.

However, despite the evidence of previous violence towards others, threatening behaviour involving a child and the lack of medication monitoring, the review concluded that the attack on Emily ‘could not have been predicted or prevented’.

Emily’s father, Mark Jones, has been heavily critical of the mental health services and has slammed review into Skana’s treatment.

He says he is waiting for a second investigation, already announced by NHS England, which is set to be launched soon.

“It clearly highlights major failures in GMMH’s systems and a lack of communication,” Mr Jones said.

“The lack of communication was probably down to so many people being involved in Skana’s care. She was passed from pillar to post, and as a result, some clinicians were unaware of the threat she posed.

“The failings are clearly and comprehensively addressed in their review but they still continue to relinquish all responsibility for the actions that lead to my daughter’s death. I therefore welcome the further imminent review by NHS England. I await their findings and will act on it accordingly in due course.”

Neil Thwaite, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “On behalf of our Trust, we continue to send our deepest sympathies to everyone who loved and cared for Emily.

“We welcome the decision to commission an independent investigation into this tragic incident.”

See full article here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 8th February 2021

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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