A mental health trust has appeared in court accused of failings relating to the care of three women who took their own lives in its hospitals.
The charges against Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust relate to the care of 17-year-old Christie Harnett, from Newton Aycliffe, Emily Moore, 18, from Shildon, and another woman who has not been named.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is prosecuting the trust for alleged breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.
Families of Christie and Emily arrived at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17 May expecting to hear the trust enter pleas.
They were told there were legal issues that still needed to be resolved, including evidence from an expert witness.
The judge told the court she accepted the trust was not dragging its feet.
No pleas were entered during the hearing and the case was adjourned until 26 September.
In the case of Christie and the unnamed patient the trust’s defence lawyer said the trust acknowledges the allegations against them “are well founded.”
There is likely to be a trial on the charge relating to Emily Moore.
A spokesperson for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have fully co-operated with the Care Quality Commission’s investigation and continue to work closely with them.
“Both the CQC and the trust agreed that the hearing should be adjourned to obtain additional evidence and this was granted by the judge.
“We don’t underestimate the impact that these proceedings have on those involved, and we’re deeply sorry for the pain and distress this has caused.”
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