The family of a woman who killed herself and her children in 2007 yesterday criticised the hospital that treated her for discharging her too early and not consulting social workers before doing so. The criticism came at the end of an inquest into the deaths of Mak Fuk-tai, 36, her daughter Chan Po-yi, 12, and son Chan Tung-man, eight. Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu recorded verdicts of suicide for the death of Mak and unlawful killing for the deaths of the children. Mak bound her children with nylon string before throwing them out their Tin Shui Wai flat window at 4am on October 14, 2007. She leapt to her own death minutes later. Psychiatrist Joyce Lau Sing-yan discharged Mak too early and that decision should have been left to her superior, lawyer and Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said. Mr Ho represented the family at the inquest. 'Unfortunately, the home leave, and ultimately the discharge assessment were entirely conducted by a doctor with just over a year's experience ... before consulting the overseeing doctor. Her lack of experience and overconfidence might have been the main factor in creating this tragedy,' he said. All psychiatric patients should undergo an evaluation that should include written assessments from medical and social workers before discharge, and doctors should consult social workers more than they currently do, Mr Ho said. Chan Hau-ming, Mak's brother-in-law, said he was disappointed that the coroner did not make any suggestions and that he would consult his brother on whether to start a civil suit. Michael Chan, who conducted the inquest without a jury, said that it was not up to the Coroner's Court to decide if the decision to discharge Mak was wrong. 'After hearing four days of evidence, I see that the question at hand is about the diagnosis of one person, and not about something systemic. Even if the decision to discharge Mak were wrong, no suggestion I make can make that situation better,' he said. The case has raised questions about the adequacy of support for recovering psychiatric patients. Ip Yan-ming, vice-president of the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists, said the number of psychiatric patients held in institutions had dropped 10 per cent in the past 10 years. Dr Ip said he believed returning patients to society was the right way to go: 'From a human rights point of view, a society point of view, a medical point of view, the trend should be deinstitutionalisation, toward a community-based approach.' The priority follow-up system, where psychiatric patients with a history of violence are monitored after they are discharged, had been working well, he said. Hospital Authority figures show there are several thousand patients listed as priority follow-up targets, including about 400 who are considered high-risk. There are about 200,000 people suffering from severe mental disorders in Hong Kong, and about 350 psychiatrists and trainees, according to figures provided by Dr Ip.