The death of a mum from Haverhill would not have happened if not for a shortage of mental health beds, a coroner has said.

Senior coroner for Suffolk Nigel Parsley has written to the Secretary of State to express his concerns for the state of the mental health service following the death of Nicola Rayner.

Miss Rayner, a mother-of-one from Haverhill, was 40 when she died on June 10 last year. Miss Rayner had struggled with her mental health since childhood and was known to mental health services.

On May 29, she attended the A&E department at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, with her partner, who was concerned for her welfare and felt she needed to be admitted to the acute ward.

However, owing to the pressure of the Bank Holiday, there were no available beds.

Miss Rayner attended a consultation with a psychiatrist on June 6, who wanted to admit her to a mental health ward. Again, no bed could be found.

Later that day, Miss Rayner took action to end her life, and died in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, days later.

“Had a Mental Health bed been available on the June 6, 2023, Nicola’s death would not have occurred,” wrote Mr Parsley, addressing his report to Secretary of State, Victoria Atkins MP.

He found that Miss Rayner’s case was not isolated. Parallels could be drawn from the death of Piotr Marek Kierzkowski, who died in Bury St Edmunds in 2019, for which Mr Parsley wrote a similar report in October 2020.

“Evidence was heard from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, that on the day of the inquest itself (February 23, 2024), the availability of bed provision for informal mental health patients had failed to improve at all,” Mr Parsley wrote.

He added that on February 23, there were 20 patients on a waiting list for an informal inpatient mental health bed in Suffolk alone, and no beds to be found anywhere else in the country.

Mr Parsley concluded: “I am therefore concerned, that any measures that may have been taken in the intervening period since October 2020, have neither adequately, or effectively, addressed this clear and continuing local and national risk of future deaths occurring.”