A sheriff said everything in a “complex picture” will be looked at before she makes her judgment in a fatal accident inquiry into the death of Angus teen Sophie Parkinson.
Sophie took her own life at her family home in Liff in 2014, aged just 13 years old, after first seeking help six years earlier.
Mum Ruth Moss had fought for an inquiry into her daughter’s death, claiming NHS Tayside’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) had failed to take her suicidal risk seriously.
During the FAI, Mrs Moss slammed the clinicians involved in Sophie’s care for “failing” to produce a formal risk assessment, which was not common practice in CAMHS.
However all three clinicans, who also gave evidence, said their risk assessment was an ongoing process and highlighted areas where that was shown in the medical notes.
Advocate Richard Pugh, defending Tayside health board, drew attention to that in his submission to Sheriff Lorna Drummond.
He said: “A formal risk assessment is only a tool which goes towards the overall risk assessment, I would take issue with saying it manages risk – it doesn’t, it assesses risk and that risk is managed by the care plan.”
While recognising the fact that Sophie’s suicidal thoughts were intense, Mr Pugh went on to address the fact that they were episodic, as described in the clinicans’ evidence.
However Mr Pugh did recognise a lack of communication from CAMHS to Mrs Moss in relation to Sophie’s care – a recurring issue highlighted in Mrs Moss’ evidence.
Advocate David Adams, acting for Mrs Moss, also picked up on the lack of communication from CAMHS, identifying it as the factor which links everything in the case together.
Mr Adams said all things needed to be “looked at together”, citing a lack of feedback to Mrs Moss and the school, a representative or supervisor of Sophie’s care, and attention to detail.
He said: “It’s not that things were not picked up on – for example the loss of hope or hopelessness – it’s not that these things were not noted but more that they were not explored in any significant depth when looking at the bigger strategic position.”
Sheriff Drummond will now consider the evidence privately before making a determination.