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Suffolk coroner writes to mental health trust after death of ‘fantastic father’ and popular Thurlow Nunn engineer James Ketteringham

The Coroner's Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich

The Coroner's Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich

Archant

A senior Suffolk coroner has written to the region’s mental health trust urging them to do more after a popular Thurlow Nunn engineer took his own life.

Father-of-two James Ketteringham died on January 31 this year a few hours after being reported missing from his home in Ipswich.

Police discovered him inside a shed belonging to a neighbour in Goring Road – and despite the best efforts of paramedics he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Senior Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean told an inquest that the agricultural worker had battled depression and had spent time at the Woodlands mental health unit as an inpatient in the weeks leading up to his death.

Now Dr Dean is planning to write to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) over concerns raised by the 46-year-old’s family at the inquest, held at the Suffolk coroner’s court yesterday.

He told the hearing Mr Ketteringham had not been given a discharge letter when he left hospital and when he next saw his GP – Dr Hague – he was unaware that the father-of-two had even been in hospital for treatment and as such, he grew concerned about the communication issues.

The 46-year-old had gone to see his GP after becoming confused about whether he needed to inform the DVLA about his condition in case the medication he was on affected his concentration or made him drowsy.

Glenn Pooley, who conducted an investigation into how Mr Ketteringham’s treatment plan was handled by the trust, admitted there was an “unavoidable delay” in the letter being passed to Mr Ketteringham’s doctor and said this was due to workload.

He added that patient leaflets had been implemented to ensure patients were better informed about what they needed to tell the DVLA and staff had been briefed on the impact the guidance might have on patients.

But Dr Dean said he was concerned action had not yet been taken to make patient discharge letters mandatory for mental health patients.

He told the hearing: “I will write directly to the trust to ask that the trust issues information when they discharge, or at least a piece of paper that says what happened.

“So that if they then need to contact their GP, they will have something they can show.”

Recording a conclusion that Mr Ketteringham took his own life, Dr Dean offered his condolences to his family and friends.

Marie Ketteringham described her husband of 22 years as a fantastic father.

In a statement read out to the court, she added: “He (James) was someone who was loved by everyone, he had countless friendships with people from all walks of life.”

His colleagues at Thurlow Nunn, where his wife said he had his dream job, said he was a highly regarded and popular member of the team.

They added: “He was a special person, who could light up a room with a smile.”

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