HEALTH services have been hit with criticism after a nursing student stepped in front a train just hours after being released from a mental health ward.

Rebecca Henry - known as Becca to her family - died at Farnworth Station on January 14 but had been admitted to a specialist unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital the day before.

This followed a week in which the 26-year-old, from Bangor, Wales, had attempted suicide on three occasions, including considering stepping in front of a train at Oxford Road Railway Station before revealing her plan to police and being voluntarily admitted to hospital.

However, when she asked to be released from the Oak Ward in Farnworth, doctors decided not to section her and allowed her to go.

At an inquest held at Bolton Coroners Court, coroner John Pollard said he felt staff at the unit had "perfectly valid reasons" to detain Rebecca.

He recorded that she had committed suicide but criticised the hospital, saying there was "ample evidence to show that this poor girl was at the absolute end of her ability to protect herself".

Mr Pollard added; "I look at the care and I have to say that the actions of the team are not ones which I agree with myself but these actions are taken by professionals day in and day out and they nearly always get it right."

Rebecca had spent much of her life battling with borderline personality disorder and had struggled with self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

She had spent long spells in hospital in her teenage years but had seemed to be turning her life around and was in her final year of training to become a mental health nurse at the University of Manchester.

In a statement given to the coroner, her mother Sara Richardson, said it was no surprise her daughter had decided to become a nurse.

"It was unsurprising that Becca chose the course that she did because she was a good person who wanted to help everyone," she said. "She would have liked the world to be better than it is which is always a difficult thing to live with."

She added: "The sad thing is that she had a really loving family around her that would have done more if they had known how."

After three years of study, Rebecca's academic performance had been outstanding, according to Dr Simon Merry-West, director of student experience at the University of Manchester,

He said: "She was very gifted academically, very talented, and also extremely popular both with staff and the students.

"It was quite heart-warming really I remember speaking to Mrs Richardson the morning after Becca died and even by that point she had already had various messages of support from students."

Following Rebecca's death, the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) ran an investigation into the incident and ordered a number of staff to undergo new training sessions.

Gill Green, director of nursing and governance at the trust, offered her "deepest condolences" to the family and said the case would stay with staff for a "a very long time".

"Everyone involved in this tragic case, remain shocked and saddened at what happened," she said.

“We fully accept the coroner’s findings and that the standard of care given to Ms Henry fell short of what she should have received. For this we are truly sorry and have taken robust steps to this put this right and reduce the chance of this happening again."

Staff have been put through new risk assessment training and been issued with new advice on how to deal with similar situations.

Dr Dilraj Sohi, the consultant who took care of Rebecca during her stay at Bolton Hospital explained that doctors try to work with patients rather than force them - especially those suffering with thoughts of taking their own lives.

Doctors are guided to try and make the patient feel they are part of their treatment and help them focus on improving their lives in future.

He said: "We need to be able to say that action we are taking involves the person and empowers them. One huge thing is that the least restrictive course of action is key. If we did detain her that would take power away and say that we are in power or we will take control of your life - and that leads to more suicidal thoughts."