NHS investigation into teen deaths is “shocking” and “damning”
Three NHS England independent investigation reports have been published, following the deaths of three young women under the care and treatment of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).
Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif, both 17, and Emily Moore, 18, were all treated at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough, where two of the girls took their own lives. All three, who had been friends, died within eight months of each other.
Lessons not learned
In response to the report’s findings, Marjorie Wallace CBE, Chief Executive of SANE, said: “These are some of the most shocking, heartbreaking and damning reports I have read in many years. Despite warnings from the Care Quality Commission and others, lessons appear to have not been learned.”
- Christie and Nadia, both 17, and Emily, 18, died under the care of the trust.
- All three were treated at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough, where two of the girls took their own lives.
- The trust admits “unacceptable failings” and has apologised unreservedly.
- West Lane Hospital, which closed in 2019 following the deaths, provided specialist child and adolescent mental health services, including treatment for eating disorders.
“We understand the pressures that trusts, particularly those providing children and adolescent mental health services, are under with the overwhelming increase in numbers of young people referred for help, understaffing, low morale and lack of beds and units.
“But this should not prevent psychiatric units providing safe treatment and care or responding to the many red flags that were clearly evident in all three of these cases, including repeated self-harm and suicide attempts.
“Our concern is that if trusts continue to fail to provide safe treatment for the most seriously ill, and this disastrous litany of failures continues, many lives of patients will continue to remain at risk.
Fundamental lack of care
“Above all, there is no excuse for the culture which has led to a fundamental lack of care and courtesy in listening to parents and families, taking notice of their concerns, keeping them in the loop of communication and, following any tragedies, supporting them in their search for the truth.
“However, we continue to urge families with anyone suffering from mental illness to seek early treatment and fight for the help that should be available.”
Brent Kilmurray, Chief Executive of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, responded to the investigation, saying: “The girls and their families deserved better while under our care. We must do everything in our power to ensure these failings can never be repeated.”
A statement from our Chief Executive – Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust (tewv.nhs.uk)