Toddler’s death led to change

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HEALTH bosses said changes have been made in the wake of the death of toddler Christy Ruddell at the hands of his mentally ill mum.

An inquest in Sunderland into the two-year-old’s death yesterday heard there has been a shake-up to a number of working procedures.

Melanie Ruddell strangled her son at her brother’s West Rainton home in August 2010, hours after discharging herself without psychiatric assessment.

Earlier, Dr Clement Agbatar, of the University Hospital of Hartlepool, said when he called for help from an Easington crisis team at 6.30pm, he was told no one would be available until after 9.30pm.

The crisis team was not able to accept patients between 7pm and 9pm, he added.

After waiting for 90 minutes, he was told the wait would be longer and Mrs Ruddell left.

Christine Stanbury, of Tees, Esk, Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services, said working procedures had been changed. An overlapping shift pattern has been introduced.

David Emerton, medical director at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust Foundation Trust, added: “I would like to say how sorry I am to Mrs Ruddell that we did not achieve a timely assistance for her at A and E.”

Staff have received extra training on dealing with mental health and child protection issues.