Essex mental heath trust fined £1.5m for failings that led to 11 deaths

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The NHS Trust in charge of mental health services in Essex has been fined £1.5 million for repeated failures which led to the deaths of 11 patients.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that for more than a decade the lives of vulnerable individuals had been put at repeated risk, while in the care of the trust. 

Matthew Leahy was one of the patients who died on the mental health unit that was supposed to be keeping him safe.

He was just 20-years-old when he was found dead in the Linden Centre in Chelmsford in 2012.

He'd only been there seven days.

Matthew Leahy Credit: ITV Anglia/Family photo

His mother, Melanie said:

Matthew's family, and others who lost loved ones at the centres run by Essex Partnership Trust have been campaigning for justice for more than a decade.

Today, their voices were finally heard in court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the trust failed to adequately identify, or address with sufficient urgency, the significance of the environmental risks within its inpatient wards.  

The court heard how Essex Partnership Trust repeatedly failed its patients, with 11 people dying on their wards over 11 years.

All of the deaths involved ligature points.

There had been reviews carried out into the earlier deaths and the dangers and flaws in the designs of the units had been highlighted.

But little or no action was taken, which meant that more patients died.

The deaths which exposed the failings of the Trust happened between 2004 and 2015, and it pleaded guilty to those failings last year, but was only sentenced today.

In a statement, Paul Scott, Chief Executive of Essex Partnership Trust said:

For some relatives today's sentencing isn't enough, and they continue to fight for a statutory public inquiry into the history and state of Essex's mental health services.