Calderdale health officials vow to improve mental health services after death of schoolgirl Ursula Keogh

Officials have pledged to continue to improve mental health services in Calderdale
Officials have pledged to continue to improve mental health services in Calderdale

Health officials have vowed to keep improving mental health services for Calderdale’s young people following comments made by the coroner at an inquest into the death of an 11-year-old Halifax schoolgirl.

Coroner Martin Fleming was speaking last week at the inquest into the death of Ursula Keogh from a fall from height in January this year.

Recording a verdict that she had taken her own life, Mr Fleming heard evidence from Ursula’s family which suggested unclear communication between the youngster’s school and GP practice showed how people might not get the help they sought.

READ MORE: Verdict reached into death of 'bright and sensitive' Halifax schoolgirl Ursula Keogh
He suggested he would be writing to health chiefs asking them to present a system that is clearer to access.

Mr Fleming also asked Calderdale Council what more could be done to improve safety on a Halifax bridge following Ursula’s death with Calderdale Council highways asset manager Richard Mills providing that information at the hearing at Bradford Coroners Court.

READ MORE: Safety measures at North Bridge to be questioned after inquest into death of Halifax schoolgirl
A spokesperson for NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group said the group could not comment specifically about correspondence from the coroner as this had not yet been received.

He said: “We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ursula.

“We have not yet received any correspondence from the coroner and so we are unable to comment at this time.

“We will always seek to learn lessons from such tragedies.”

In general terms, as lead commissioner for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Calderdale the group was committed to driving improvements by working in close partnership with service users, their families, the local authority and service providers to build a more flexible and responsive approach to care and support for young people and their families, he said.

In March 2017, commissioners and providers agreed to work towards implementing a new approach for CAMHS.

“This new model of working is based on a closer partnership, enabling us to have a much bigger impact on the lives of children and families than we would ever be able to achieve alone,” said the spokesperson.

As part of this approach the CCG was also working with children, young people and families and organisations in the public private and voluntary sector.

“By giving young people, their families and carers a real voice, we can better deliver a truly personalised package of support, built around the specific needs and circumstances of the young person,” he said.

People can find out more about CAHMS online at www.calderdalecamhs.org.uk – the site includes referral guidance and other resources for professionals and families.