A NORTH-East MP has lambasted a university as “callous” and “bone-headed” following an inquest into the death of a student.

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman has criticised Bristol University and is demanding urgent improvements to the way higher education institutions care for students.

Ms Goodman tweeted the university late on Saturday evening, saying “If I had a child applying to university I certainly wouldn’t send them to @BristolUni. What a bunch of s***s they are!!”

The tweet follows a coroner’s ruling last week that a series of failures by mental health services contributed to Natasha Abrahart’s suicide.

The inquest was told academic staff knew the vulnerable 20-year-old physics student, originally from Nottingham, suffered from social anxiety and panic attacks in relation to oral assessments.

But a senior lecturer said “no changes were made” to her assessment to students and staff in a 329-seat lecture theatre on April 30 last year.

Natasha, who was in her second year, was found dead in her student flat in Park Street, the same day.

The university says it “tried very hard” to help Natasha with her studies and mental wellbeing and that the coroner found no fault with it.

But after hearing of the tragedy during a radio interview with Natasha’s family, Ms Goodman said: “It struck me as so tragic. My heart absolutely went out to them. I just thought it was such a waste of someone so talented.

“I really felt that the parents were right when they said it’s no good the university putting out bland statements saying they did everything they could because, when you look at the sequence of events, it is clear they did not do everything.

“Natasha had attempted suicide three times, they knew she had mental health problems and social anxiety over her oral assessments for her laboratory work, and yet they continued to assess her in that way.

“It was callous. The course was physics, not drama or a course that required an element of performance. They could have just given her a written exam.

“She was evidently good at exams because she got into Bristol University to study physics, yet because they were so bone-headed and insistent on those assessments, they turned somebody who was a success into somebody who felt she was a failure.”

Zero Suicide Bristol spokesman James Cox said: “It should be an aspiration for students to attend the University of Bristol, but their apparent lack of a constructive response to the increasing number of student suicides is giving the university a new and unwanted reputation.

“I think Ms Goodman’s language is reflective of the frustration students, staff and others in the city feel about the crisis on campus and the response to it.”

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “It’s disappointing to read Helen Goodman’s comments on social media, which appear to have been made after she has seen the story in the media.

“Staff in the School of Physics, along with colleagues from student services, tried very hard to help Natasha, both with her ongoing studies and with her mental health and wellbeing needs, including support around her assessments.

“This was highlighted and acknowledged during the inquest, with the coroner finding no fault with the university.

“We are very sad our efforts could not help prevent Natasha’s tragic death.

“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our mental health and wellbeing strategy and the support we provide our students and staff with Helen Goodman directly.”

Last week’s inquest at Avon Coroners Court heard how the university’s GP service had referred Natasha to Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust in February 2018 following the first of several suicide attempts.

She was started on the antidepressant Sertraline to help with her anxiety by her GPs.

But, along with the fact her medication was not reviewed properly, there were delays in her being seen by mental health services.

In her conclusion, coroner Maria Voison found no failures by GPs or by the university in Natasha’s care.

She had previously ruled the adequacy of the support provided to Natasha by the university fell outside the scope of her inquiry.