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Three girls died after major failings in NHS mental health care, inquiry finds

Three teenage girls died after major failings in the care they received from NHS mental health services in the north-east of England, an independent investigation has found.

“Multifaceted and systemic” failures by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS trust contributed to the young women’s self-inflicted deaths within eight months of each other, it concluded.

Christie Harnett died aged 17 on 27 June 2019 at the trust’s West Lane hospital in Middlesbrough. Nadia Sharif, also 17, died there six weeks later, on 5 August. Emily Moore, who had been treated there, died on 15 February 2020 at a different hospital in Durham. All three had complex mental health problems and had been receiving NHS care for several years.

The investigation into their deaths, commissioned by the NHS, found that 119 “care and service delivery problems” by NHS services, especially TEWV, had occurred.

Charlotte and Michael Harnett, Christie’s parents, said their daughter had “lost her life whilst in a hospital run by TEWV trust where there was little or no care or compassion”. Emily’s parents, David and Susan Moore, said she received “horrific care” while at West Lane. Services at the hospital were understaffed, “unstable and overstretched”, the investigation’s final report found.

Both families, and also Nadia’s parents, Hakeel and Arshad Sharif, said the dangerous inadequacy of the care provided by TEWV, and the likelihood that other patients with fragile mental health had died as a result, showed that ministers should order a full public inquiry. “This mental health trust is a danger to the public,” the Moores said.

The report said TEWV failed to properly monitor the girls, given their known risk of self-harm; to take seriously concerns about their care and suicide risk raised by their families; and to remove all potential ligature points.

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Source: The Guardian, 2 November 2022


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