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Minister calls for staff evidence in deaths inquiry

A health minister has called for more staff to take part in an inquiry into deaths at a mental health trust.

An independent review into 1,500 deaths at the Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) over a 21-year period was launched in 2020.

It emerged earlier this month that 11 out of 14,000 staff members had come forward to give evidence to an independent inquiry.

The trust said it was encouraging staff to take part in the inquiry.

During a parliamentary debate, Health Minister Neil O'Brien said the trust was being given a "last chance" before the government intervened and instigated a statutory inquiry.

A statutory inquiry would allow staff to be compelled to give evidence.

In December, a further 500 deaths were made known to the review chair, Dr Geraldine Strathdee.

She said the inquiry could not continue without full legal powers.

Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford said she had been told by the chief executive of EPUT that staff were "very scared" to give evidence.

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Source: BBC News, 31 January 2023


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