A MAN who committed suicide was asked to leave a mental hospital a year before because he was not getting on with the staff, an inquest heard.

Ivan Elford, 40, drove to a spot between junction 8a and 9 on the M40 near his home in Thame on August 4.

He parked on the hard shoulder then walked in front of a lorry going at 50mph and was killed instantly.

At the inquest into his death on Thursday ((JAN22)), mental health authority Oxford Health NHS Trust admitted “shortcomings” in the case.

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But spokesman Alistair Duncan refused to tell the Oxford Mail what changes the trust was making to improve care.

Mr Elford, a former civil engineer, was sectioned to Oxford’s Warneford Hospital a year before his death after slashing his wrists so badly he needed plastic surgery.

But his social worker Simon Peek told Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court the hospital asked him to leave because he was not getting on with his care co-ordinator.

By the time staff found a different one it was “too late” because he had “already disengaged”, he said.

Mr Peek said: “There seems to have been a request for a different care co-ordinator from Ivan which didn’t happen.”

The court heard how the following July, Mr Elford’s mother Madeline Elford called the mental health team to raise concerns that her son was relapsing into mental illness.

Community psychiatric nurse Philip Chaundy visited Mr Elford at home on July 15, and said he was “friendly” and “not in a low mood”. Mr Elford’s mother, who attend the inquest with his sister, asked Mr Peek if there was no other way he could have been assessed.

She said: “It seemed that we were waiting for a crisis to happen.”

Mr Peek said he could have compelled Mr Elford to attend a mandatory assessment under the Mental Health Act but said: “In my opinion he wouldn’t have been detained and it would have made matters worse.”

Oxford Health inquests and claims manager Neil McLaughlin told the inquest Mr Elford’s family raised “legitimate concerns” regarding his discharge.

He said: “The trust has recognised its shortcomings in that case. Improvement work on this... is currently being actioned.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “In a tragic and difficult case like this there are bound to be questions about whether more could have been done, though the testimony of the nurse who visited Mr Elford less than three weeks before his suicide shows an effort was being made to help him.

"If Oxford Health is making improvements in its procedures following the earlier discharge, it would be wise to tell the public what these are.”

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