‘Beautiful’ Chesterfield woman took her own life after being ‘ignored’ by NHS amid coronavirus pandemic, heartbroken family say

The family of a ‘beautiful’ Chesterfield woman who took her own life say she was ‘ignored’ by the NHS amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 7:00 am

Rebecca Brooks died aged 34 on August 16 – three months after an appointment with the community mental health team was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis and six months after she had first visited her GP.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has offered its ‘sincere condolences’ to Rebecca’s family.

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Rebecca Brooks.
Rebecca Brooks.

Rebecca's sister Kerry, speaking on behalf of her family, said: “My sister suffered with mental health issues for many years and previously tried to take her own life – the NHS was aware of this.

“She plucked up the courage to go and see her doctor in February and was referred to the community mental health team.

“An appointment for June was cancelled in May due to Covid and she was then given a telephone appointment for August 27 – six months after she first visited her GP – but it was too late.

“Why did they make her wait?”

Rebecca Brooks.

Rebecca’s loved ones have now set up a petition – https://www.change.org/p/matt-hancock-raise-awareness – which demands an end to the cancellation of appointments

The petition states Rebecca, of Cobnar Drive, was ‘quite simply ignored’ and ‘the promise of a telephone appointment in the future was too late’.

Kerry described her sister as a ‘good, kind-hearted woman whose smile and laughter would light up the room’.

“Everyone who knew her now has to live with the loss of such a beautiful young woman,” she added.

A Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Rebecca’s family for their loss at this very difficult time.

“We will fully co-operate with the coroner’s office regarding Rebecca’s sad death, to identify any improvements around access to services.

“We recognise the importance of encouraging people to speak up when they are concerned about their mental health.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns who is not already in receipt of mental health services, whether they are worried about a loved one or needing help themselves, to contact our mental health support line, available 24 hours a day on 0800 028 0077 and open to Derbyshire residents of all ages.

“We are unable to comment further on an individual case.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected] or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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