The second Luton related story I wanted to write about is a less happy one. Last month the independent report commissioned by NHS East of England into the care received by Tennyson Obih, the man who murdered Bedfordshire PC Jon Henry in Luton town centre in 2007, was published.
The report found that the death of the police officer could have been prevented if Obih’s mental illness had been treated properly. A series of “management and clinical failings” in the mental health services that covered Luton meant that Obih, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was untreated and unmonitored at the time he committed the murder.
The report itself can be found here: “An investigation into the care and treatment of Tennyson Obih”
Here is how the BBC reported the news: “Luton stab murder of Pc Jon Henry ‘preventable’”
There is no doubt that the mental health services in Luton and Bedfordshire have been poorly performing in recent years. That is the reason why the Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust (BLPT) responsible for these services was taken over by the South Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust (SEPT) in April of this year. One hopes that management by SEPT will lead to improvement.
The report also should serve as a warning in these times of financial constraint and cuts to public services. The report finds that the root cause in the failings in Obih’s care was the closure of the early intervention service as a result of budget savings. The lesson is that, while public services will have to make cuts over the coming years to deal with the budget deficit, it is important that those responsible take considerable care to get this right. The consequences that could occur if they get it wrong can be very serious indeed.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.