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Ministers may order inquiry or review over English mental health care failings

Ministers may order a public inquiry into mental health care and patient deaths across England because of the number of scandals that are emerging involving poor treatment.

Maria Caulfield, the minister for mental health, told MPs on Thursday that she and the health secretary, Steve Barclay, were considering whether to launch an inquiry because the same failings were occurring so often in so many different parts of the country.

They would make a final decision “in the coming days”, she said in the House of Commons, responding to an urgent question tabled by her Labour shadow, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.

An independent investigation found this week that that three teenage girls – Christie Harnett, 17, Nadia Sharif, 17, and Emily Moore, 18 – took their own lives within the space of eight months after receiving inadequate care from the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS mental health trust in north-east England.

They died after “multifaceted and systemic failings” by the trust, especially at its West Lane hospital in Middlesbrough, the inquiry found.

Allin-Khan pointed to a series of scandals that have come to light, often through media investigations, about dangerously substandard mental health care being provided by NHS services and also private firms in England, including in Essex and in Greater Manchester.

“Patients are dying, being bullied, dehumanised, abused and their medical records are being falsified, a scandalous breach of patient safety,” Allin-Khan said. “The government has failed to learn from past failings.”

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Source: The Guardian, 3 November 2022


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