Bristol University GP ‘ignored NHS advice’ before student died

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Abrahart family

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Natasha Abrahart’s GP said she felt the teenager had a “high risk of ending her life”

A GP ignored clinical advice and did not follow up on a student who was “at high risk of ending her life” before she was found hanged, an inquest heard.

Natasha Abrahart, 20, who was studying physics at the University of Bristol, died on 30 April last year.

The university’s Dr Emma Webb prescribed anti-depressants and made a note to “follow up in two weeks”.

However, NHS advice states patients assessed as a suicide risk should be seen after one week.

Dr Webb told Avon Coroners’ Court that she saw Ms Abrahart on 30 March, then again on 20 April when she prescribed her the anti-depressant Sertraline.

She described the student as “extremely difficult to communicate with” and added: “My usual practice is to follow up two weeks after prescribing anti depressants.”

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Margaret and Robert Abrahart gave evidence at the inquest

In the past three years, 12 University of Bristol students have died.

Eight of the deaths were recorded as suicide, two inquests – including Ms Abrahart’s – are still to take place or be determined and two inquests returned narrative verdicts.

The student’s parents Robert and Margaret, from West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire, told the inquest they miss their daughter “every day”.

Mrs Abrahart told the hearing in Flax Bourton that her daughter was worried about being “kicked off her course” after receiving a lower than expected year-end mark and had begun self-harming.

Ms Abrahart’s GP told the inquest when Ms Abrahart attended an emergency appointment in February last year she was in an “acute state of distress”.

Dr Caroline St John Wright said she felt the student “was at high risk of ending her life” and referred her to the Avon Wiltshire Partnership (AWP) crisis team.

The doctor said the AWP tried to contact Ms Abrahart, but she did not answer her phone.

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Abrahart family

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Natasha’s parents said they “miss her every day”

Mr Abrahart told the inquest his daughter had posted on a mental health support site aimed at students saying she felt “distressed” and had “suicidal thoughts”.

He said the day before she died she had sent a text to her boyfriend saying “answer now”, but he was asleep.

After she died, her phone was examined and it was found she had searched the phrase “I wish I was dead” on the internet a week before she died.

The inquest continues.

For help and support on mental health visit the BBC Advice pages.

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