Published: 00:00, 03 May 2014
| Updated: 17:01, 03 May 2014
A father-of-four leapt to his death from a motorway bridge after being turned away by medical staff fives times on the same day.
An inquest into his death this week heard the increasingly agitated 67-year-old made four trips to Maidstone Hospital complaining of problems swallowing – and on one occasion was taken by police to the specialist mental health unit Priority House next door.
An A&E nurse even told his daughter, Helen Franklin, she would have to call police if he stopped by again. Ms Frankin said: “My father begged for help... turned away from Priority House, threatened with arrest if he went to Maidstone Hospital, all doors were closed. He did not want to die – he wanted help.”
Mid Kent and Medway coroner, Patricia Harding, is considering reporting one psychiatric nurse to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and has recommended Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and the Kent and Medway Social Care NHS Partnership Trust make changes to avoid a similar tragedy.
Mr Franklin, of Riverside Park, East Farleigh, died from multiple injuries after falling from the bridge at Junction 5 (Aylesford) of the M20 on August 19 last year.
The inquest heard how the father of four had a long history of mental health problems, dating back over many years.
Mid Kent and Medway coroner, Patricia Harding, recorded a conclusion that Mr Franklin had taken his own life while suffering from depression.
She said: “I am satisfied such that I am sure that Peter Franklin intended to kill himself.”
But she said she believed Mr Franklin should have been immediately assessed when he visited the hospital.
She could not speculate whether this would have changed the outcome.
His family described the popular father of four, known as Wiggy, as someone who wanted to live.
In a statement they said: “Peter was married twice and remained good friends with both of his wives...his easy- going nature made it possible for this unique family situation to exist.
“As a father and grandfather, Peter was extremely hands-on. He was the first on the bouncy castle and took great pleasure in giving donkey back rides.
A spokesman for Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust said it was considering the issues raised at the inquest very carefully and will work with other organisations concerned as to appropriate action.”
A Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust spokesman added: “We will actively foster closer working relationships with our partner healthcare organisations and make every effort possible to ensure our processes of communication with them are robust, thorough and effective.”
More by this authorAngela Cole