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Essex mental health inquiry relaunched with new legal powers

A public inquiry into the deaths of at least 2,000 mental health inpatients has been relaunched with new powers.

The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry was established in 2021 to investigate the deaths of people on mental health wards in the county.

The number of initial responses to the inquiry from current and former staff was described as "disappointing".

The inquiry has converted to a statutory inquiry meaning witnesses can be forced to give evidence.

It is understood the new chairwoman is considering extending the inquiry's timeframe to include deaths from the start of 2000 until the end of 2023.

Baroness Kate Lampard, leading the inquiry, said: "I am determined to conduct this inquiry in a fair, thorough and balanced manner.

"I am also concerned to ensure that I do not take any longer than necessary - the recommendations from this inquiry are urgent and cannot be delayed."

She added: "To be clear from the outset, I will not be compelling families to give evidence.

"Evidence from staff, management and organisations will be gathered in a proportionate, fair and appropriate manner."

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Source: BBC News, 1 November 2023


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