Agencies ‘repeatedly failed’ Somerset man with traumatic brain injury safeguarding board review finds

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 June 2017

Tom from Somerset suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. (Stock image).

Tom from Somerset suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. (Stock image).


A ‘vulnerable’ man who suffered from a traumatic brain injury in a road traffic accident was left without appropriate support from social care and drug and alcohol services, a review has found.

Health services were part of the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board.Health services were part of the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board.

The 43-year-old man from Somerset, referred to only as Tom, suffered with physical and psychological injuries after the accident, and had a dependency on drug and alcohol.

He took his own life in 2014, and a serious case review has now been published by the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board, which revealed there were shortcomings in the care he received following his injury.

The report highlights a lack of joined-up working across social care and health bodies, which missed opportunities to intervene.

It concludes that despite Tom making numerous contacts with health and care professionals, he was not provided with appropriate support.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of the brain injury charity Headway, which has been praised by Tom’s family for its support, said: “The tragic reality is Tom, a vulnerable adult, was repeatedly failed by agencies whose responsibility it was to protect and support him.”

The report found no-one co-ordinated Tom’s care, to ensure the agencies involved met his complex needs.

Recommendations have been made by the board, which is run by Somerset County Council, police and the clinical commissioning group, to improve the response to people with brain injuries.

Margaret Flynn, who wrote the report, said: “Tom’s brain injury was as unexpected as it was sudden.

“Yet his family’s grief and growing concerns were met with incomprehension.

“Tom was believed to be making unwise decisions; choosing to breach tenancy agreements; and choosing to abuse substances.

“Such beliefs compounded his own and his family’s distress.

“Tom’s life and death raise questions about the importance of understanding people’s pre-brain injured lives and seeing them in terms of support needs.

“His life mattered. Somerset services acknowledge that they could and should have done better.”

Tom’s family said: “During Tom’s life we called on multiple agencies to help us to support him. This case review has clearly identified that Tom did not receive the support and help he was entitled to, and nor did we as a family.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Weston Mercury