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01 November 2019

Katharine Stamp died unexpectedly in a controversial private psychiatric hospital aged just 30. Her family now demand answers.

2 mins

Key facts:

  • The inquest into the death of Katharine Stamp begins in Crawley on Monday 4 November 2019.
  • Katharine died at The Dene, a private psychiatric hospital now run by The Priory Group.  Her death was not self-inflicted.
  • Katharine’s death was the first of three patient deaths in a year at the Dene, which triggered a lengthy police investigation into the facility and its management.
  • The inquest will investigate possible serious failures in Katharine’s physical healthcare and will look at links between the powerful anti-psychotic drug Clozapine and pneumonia related deaths.

Katharine Stamp, known to her family as Kate, was 30 years old when she was found dead at The Dene Hospital in Sussex on 26 March 2015.  At the time her death The Dene was run by Partnerships in Care Ltd, but following a corporate merger in 2016 management was assumed by the Priory Group.  In 2018, The Dene changed its name to Priory Hospital Burgess Hill. 

Kate was a detained mental health patient and was first admitted to The Dene in September 2012 on a placement arranged and funded by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. 

Throughout her time at the Dene Kate’s family and friends expressed serious concerns at the standards of her care. Her unexpected death, and those of two other patients at the hospital in the same year triggered a lengthy police investigation into corporate governance and patient safety.  This reached an inconclusive end in late 2018 with serious questions remaining about corporate oversight and patient welfare.

Tragically, this was very familiar territory for the Dene, a specialist private hospital providing secure services for women, which has been the subject of previous coronial Preventing Future Death reports. The Dene has a highly controversial reputation for patient care and was the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches expose in 2018.

Kate’s inquest will be the first of the three linked inquests, which have been substantially delayed by the police investigation. Each will now be held before the Assistant Coroner for East Sussex, James Healy-Pratt. 

Kate’s inquest has been listed to for five days commencing on Monday 4 November. Her family have grave concerns about failures In her care at The Dene, which they feel contributed to her tragic early death. They urge that the inquest investigates these issues in full to ensure that lessons are learned and further deaths prevented.

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