Family of tragic West Lane patient welcome hospital's reopening under new name

The family of a young girl who took her own life at a mental health hospital in Middlesbrough say they are relieved it has reopened - and ITV Tyne Tees has been given exclusive access.

Christie Harnett was one of two young women who died at West Lane Hospital in 2019.

Inspectors shut down the facility, which was run by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, but now it's about to bring patients back under a new name and new trust.   

Christie died in June 2019. A few weeks later another patient - 17 year old Nadia Sharrif - took her own life. 

Nadia Sharrif and Christie Harnett Credit: Family handout

Three wards at the hospital were shut down and care provided Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust was rated inadequate. 

Services are starting again - with Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust in charge of opening a ten bed ward. 

The hospital, which has been renamed Lotus Ward, is part of the also renamed Acklam Road Hospital.

The Lotus Ward will care for people aged 13 to 18 years old with complex mental health needs.

Bedroom on Lotus ward

As well as assessment and treatment rooms there are three outdoor spaces, a gym, activity rooms and a classroom.

The newly renamed Acklam Road Hospital is ready to accept patients. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
None of the staff at the new facility have worked at West Lane.
Lotus Ward

It will have more than 60 staff, none of whom worked at West Lane.   

The new team in charge says it is vital that it is reopening so patients can receive care closer to home. It is one of three mental health wards providing care for young people in the North East.

Christie's death and the failures of West Lane are the subject of an independent NHS England inquiry. Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust say they are unable to comment until it concludes. The inquiry will also look into the deaths of Nadia Sharrif and Emily Moore. Emily had been a patient at West Lane and took her own life on an adult mental health ward at Lanchester Road Hospital in County Durham in February 2020.