THERE’S a depressing familiarity to events that led to two local health trusts being held up in an official report as examples of how not do do things.

There’s also an even more depressing familiarity to the responses issued by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and the Great Western Hospital Trust.

A man was admitted to Great Western Hospital and admitted having taken a paracetamol while drunk. An Avon and Wiltshire Partnership nurse judged him fit to be released and he subsequently killed himself.

The AWP representative failed to consider his physical health and previous overdose attempts - or even to ask questions about these issues.

The hospital partnership is somewhat less culpable, as its inadequacy seems to have been confined to a failure to deal properly with a complaint by the dead man’s horrified loved ones.

Both trusts have responded with words to the effect that they are sorry for failing to meet appropriate standards and have amended procedures.

Their statements could scarcely have been more predictable had they been peppered with the word “robust” and included the phrase: “Lessons will be learned.”

AWP paid £1,000 in compensation and GWH £250 - making for a total amounting to rather less than certain senior NHS executives might expect to be make in a couple of days.

Although expecting perfect outcomes at all times would be naive as well as grossly unfair to hard-pushed staff, we all have a right to demand that those in ultimate charge should answer properly for themselves.