By Rowen Cobb, a medical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell

There has been a fresh plea for a public inquiry into Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) by families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the continued issues with the Trust’s mental health services. 

We're representing a number of families who have concerns about the care their loved ones received at TEWV in the lead up to their deaths.

Rebuild Trust, a pressure group run by the families of three young women aged 17-18 who passed away during an eight month period at TEWV following years of treatment from various mental health team, has renewed its own pleas for a public inquiry into TEWV in the wake of their painful losses. 

A website sharing the stories of the three women has been set up – as well as a petition to force a full and transparent investigation into what the families say were repeated failings and missed opportunities. 

Care Quality Commission raises issues

The pressure group remains concerned about concerns flagged in recent Care Quality Commission inspections with the fear that patients and their families are still being failed and not listened to. 

The group would encourage any families to come forward and share any concerns they may have.

A Rebuild Trust statement added: “We have become united by our grief and determined that their deaths will not have been in vain, and the substandard care they were subject to will not continue.”

Calls for a public inquiry have grown louder in recent months with Stockton councillors grilling TEWV leaders at a recent select committee meeting. Bosses insisted they were working to turn TEWV around – with work on culture and leadership in particular.

What Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Trust says

Brent Kilmurray was appointed as chief executive at the Trust in June 2020.

In response to the families, he said: “Since 2019 we have made significant changes both in personnel and how we treat those in our care. We know compassion and respect needs to be at the centre of everything we do. However, there remain challenges to overcome, not least in changing our culture and relieving staffing pressures. These are not quick fixes and they come at a time when the demand for mental health services across the country is peaking.”

Conclusion

We can only hope that the petition for a full and transparent investigation is upheld. Although nothing can make up for the loss the families have suffered, a full and transparent investigation will hopefully prevent further deaths in such circumstances from occurring.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting people and their families affected by healthcare issues at our dedicated medical negligence section.