A CORONER has called for a “failsafe” to ensure mental health referrals are sent and received after a firefighter took his own life.

Miles Abel, who worked at a station at dstl Porton Down, hanged himself at his home in Kingsland Road on January 14.

An inquest heard the 48-year-old father had suffered with anxiety since 2012 and was on medication.

In late 2015 he sought help from his GP at Endless Street Surgery. Changes were made to his medication and in January he was signed off work.

He told his wife Diana he was struggling to sleep, could not cope with work and wanted to quit.

On January 11, he told Dr Martin Essigman he was having suicidal thoughts and asked to be referred.

Dr Essigman said he did not think Mr Abel was “actively suicidal” and had a “safety net” at home in terms of his family. He urgently referred Mr Abel the mental health team to ensure he would be seen quickly.

But the fax referral was not sent and no phone call was made to check it had been received, the inquest heard.

Dr Essigman said he should have called but was relying on the mental health team calling him. He said the procedure for sending referrals had been changed after Mr Abel’s death.

Mrs Abel said her husband had not mentioned hurting himself. “I wish someone had told me they knew he was suicidal on that Monday,” she said.

The day before Mr Abel’s death, they emailed the Priory seeking one-to-one help.

Concluding suicide, coroner Ian Singleton said: “I cannot say whether the outcome would have been any different if the fax and phone call had been made.”

He added: “My concerns relate to the way in which referrals are made to the community mental health team to ensure they are both received and they are aware referrals have been made and the doctor sending the referral has confirmation the referral has been made and accepted.

Mr Singleton said he will be sending a report to the Department of Health about these concerns.

  •  Since Miles’ death, a fundraising campaign in his memory has raised more than £4,600 for mental health charity Mind.