Families of teens failed by mental health trust welcome review but repeat demands for public inquiry

The families of three teenagers who died after being failed by a mental health trust have welcomed the announcement of a nationwide Government review into patient care but repeated their demands for a public inquiry.

Christie Harnett, 17, Nadia Sharif, 17, and Emily Moore, 18, died within an eight month period at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust facilities.

An independent investigation into the deaths, released in November 2022, found 120 failings in their care.

The report intensified calls for a public inquiry into the trust.

On Monday 23 January, the Government announced that safety risks and failures in mental health settings across England will be looked at as part of a "rapid review" into patient care.

It is not a fresh investigation into any particular case.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, David Moore, Emily Moore's father, said he only found out about the review on social media after the announcement was made.

He, and the other families, see the review as a "start" but should not replace the prospect of a public inquiry into the Tees, Esk and Wear Trust.

"I welcome a rapid response to mental health because it needs to be done but we also really need a public inquiry," Mr Moore said.

"It will bring out all the answers. There will be people coming forward to give their explanation as to what happened within the trust.

"It's common sense. It has to be done."

The government said the rapid review does not rule out a public inquiry into the trust.

A number of mental health charities and organisations have welcomed the review, declaring it a "positive step" from the Government.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said in a written statement: "This review is an essential first step in improving safety in mental health inpatient settings.

"It will focus on what data and evidence is currently available to healthcare services, including information provided by patients and families and how we can use this data and evidence more effectively to identify patient safety risks and failures in care."

Ms Caulfield added: "NHS England has also established a three-year Quality Improvement programme which seeks to tackle the root causes of unsafe, poor-quality inpatient care in mental health, learning disability and autism settings."

Following the review announcement, the Trust said they have apologised unreservedly for the unacceptable failings in the care of Christie, Nadia and Emily and they are already doing everything in their power "to ensure these failings can never be repeated."

They welcome the national rapid review and will contribute what they have learned.

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