Tragedy Spurs Movement towards Changes in Britain’s Mental Health System

As a general rule, people with schizophrenia are not dangerous to others. However, there are occasions when someone with the disorder commits a violent act due to paranoia, or in response to voices telling him / her to do so. Those types of voices are referred to as “command hallucinations”, and can be extremely compelling and very difficult to ignore.

Sadly, in July of 2009, a 30 year old man diagnosed with schizophrenia, fatally stabbed his grandfather 56 times in Nottingham, England. He also attacked his grandmother during the incident. She was hurt, but not killed. According to the report, this attack occurred after he was allowed to discontinue his meds.

While unspeakably tragic, the incident has prompted one of the British health ministers, Paul Burstow, to request that the government focuses attention on the need for changes in both the local and national mental health systems there. This issue was brought up July 22, 2010 in a Parliament meeting. A small consolation, but perhaps it will help decrease the number of future tragedies if improvements are made. Health Minister Burstow requested that the government investigate the fatal attack, and hopes that they learn from it.
An inquiry had been conducted by the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, who has issued an apology to the family. The trust made the statement that the schizophrenic man’s care was not up to acceptable standards.

The schizophrenic man who committed the act has been committed to a high security hospital for an indefinite period of time.

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