The devastated brother of a business owner who drowned after mental illness destroyed hospital trust

The devastated brother of a woman who drowned after suffering from mental illness has slammed the hospital trust that treated her for the ‘substandard’ care she received.

Alison Bishop, also known as Alison Danks, disappeared from her home in Marske on May 22, 2020. Her body was found almost a month later on a beach in Grimston in East Yorkshire.

The 39-year-old was well known on Teesside for running her own animal business Pet Care Solutions in her home town.

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During an inquest into his death last month, Teesside Coroners Court heard there had been ‘mistakes of care’ by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).

The hearing heard how Alison had tried to board a navy ship in Teesport hours before she disappeared and witnesses said she was trying to travel to Spain ‘to meet a spiritual leader’.

Middlesbrough Court heard how she was transported home and, despite appearing mentally ill, was left alone by the trust’s crisis team.

Alison’s brother, Mathew Bishop, 43, said: “The family is devastated by the poor quality of care Ali received from all departments involved in preparing for his death, with so many missed opportunities for to save her.

“The prospect that our beloved Ali would still be with us today had she received the care she needed is something so difficult for all who loved her to handle.

“This horrific journey has highlighted that while families in our position will always blame themselves for the loss of a loved one in circumstances such as those we have endured, responsible service providers must step in to provide care that is there. to save lives.

“We take the time to think and think about what Ali would want us to do in light of what, in reality, we already knew. I know in my heart that Ali would want me to make sure mom knew. that it wasn’t her fault.

“We know Ali would also want us to look ahead and think of other people, who need help to be saved. We need evidence and the assurance of Tees’ trust. , Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health that real action has been taken to address the failures highlighted.”

The inquest heard how Alison had previously been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety and suffered from paranoid thoughts.

She was under an intensive at-home plan with the team that included increasing her medication and support phone calls.

Her ex-husband Graeme Danks attended the inquest and said he believed she should not have been left alone after trying to board the Navy ship.

He told the hearing: “I don’t think that’s good enough, she shouldn’t have been left.

“Why did the crisis team only assess one incident? They should have considered other things instead of just sticking to a narrow picture.”

Jane O’Neil, adult crisis services manager for TEWV in Teesside, told the inquest there were ‘gaps in Alison’s care’ and said plans were in place to ensure a better treatment.

Teesside and Hartlepool Senior Coroner Clare Bailey gave a narrative conclusion, recording that Alison had entered the sea and drowned.

She said: “She turned to mental health services for help, but it should be noted that there were errors and gaps in some supports.

“However, I am reassured that the trust recognizes the shortcomings and mistakes and if such a situation were to arise again, the approach would be different and more questions would be asked.

Mathew, who lives in Newport Pagnell, near Milton Keynes, said Alison’s mental health issues last started after their father died and her husband left.

He said: “During this time and for many months after our family and friends fought to get Ali the support she needed, especially mum. Mum was the only one who was always there.

“There were so many missed opportunities to help Ali and mum. Ali’s care report replays this in a way that only rekindles an excruciating sense of frustration.

“I vividly remember the calls I made late at night that always felt like reaching into an abyss and hoping someone would do something, but never knowing what we owed. do to put Ali back on the road to recovery.

“Yes, I blame myself, but I learned and started to accept that the system is designed for professional care providers to step in and save lives when the need and the opportunity are there.

“And for every call I made, there were ten times as many calls for help from mum and Ali herself.”

(Left-right) Graham, Alison’s father, her mother Lynne, her brother Mathew and Alison

Alison’s disappearance has sparked a number of calls from the police in an attempt to find her and witnesses have been asked to come forward.

Cleveland police say she was last arrested by CCTV as she turned onto High Street in Marske and headed towards the waterfront.

After an extensive search, her body was discovered on the Yorkshire coast over 80 miles away.

In a touching tribute, after her death, Mathew described his sister as “caring, considerate and loving”.

He said: “She spent most of her time thinking about other people and the animals she cared for on a daily basis.

“We are truly devastated and regret that what appears to be a very tragic accident has occurred.

“We are devastated and miss her, but we are also trying to remember what a wonderful person she was.”

Mathew and his mother Lynne, 70, thanked everyone for the support they have received over the past 20 months.

Lynne, who has now moved from Marske to Newport Pagnell to be closer to Mathew, said: “I have been overwhelmed with the support I have received over the past 20 months.

“The letters, cards, emails and phone calls from my family and friends gave me so much strength and meant so much throughout this difficult time.

“Whatever I do and wherever I go, my beautiful, loving and caring daughter Alison will be with me.”

Mathew said their close family friend Michael King, 43, will continue to run Alison’s business with his team.

Michael, from Great Ayton, said: “Alison was much loved by all who knew her, she had a real passion for animals and was like a magnet for animals, especially cats.

“The team has found the last 20 months incredibly difficult, but keeping their legacy alive through Pet Care Solutions has helped us begin to come to terms with their loss.

“With the kind support of our customers, we have started making regular donations to Alison’s favorite charity, Hope Animal Rescue at Loftus. It’s something we will continue to do to preserve her legacy.”

In a final tribute to his sister, Mathew added: “I will miss my beautiful little sister for every day that I live.”

Elspeth Devanney, Acting Director of Teesside Operations at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our thoughts remain with Alison’s family during this incredibly difficult time.

“We conducted a detailed review of Alison’s care and discussed the results and actions with her family.

“We welcome the opportunity to meet Alison’s family and answer any further questions she may have.”

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