MPS last night called for a mental health trust to take urgent action after serious concerns emerged about patient safety at a North-East hospital.

It has been claimed that a patient who had been in Darlington's West Park Hospital, which specialises in mental health care for adults and the elderly, was found dead just weeks after being discharged against their wishes.

A different patient, who was given 30 minutes leave from the hospital, is alleged to have disappeared for more than four hours before eventually being discovered in a pub.

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Staff at the hospital were only made aware of the disappearance when other patients flagged up concerns, it has been claimed.

A spokesperson for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, last night confirmed it would look into the issues raised and said serious incidents are always investigated.

But Gary Emerson, chief executive at mental health charity Darlington Mind, said he would be “very concerned indeed if patient safety had been compromised at West Park Hospital".

He added: “Darlington Mind works really closely with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust and supports many of their patients with a range of support services.

“We will be writing to the trust’s chief executive, Colin Martin, to get assurances that proper systems and processes are in place to ensure patient safety is their highest priority.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman and Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman have both written to Mr Martin to raise their concerns and demand action.

A father, who asked to remain anonymous, said his child had spent some time in the hospital and had seen first-hand what had taken place.

“We put our trust in the professionals and in my opinion they are simply not doing their job.

“My child is lucky because they have got me – but it is unacceptable that MPs should have to do this in the 21st Century.”

Ms Chapman said: “A resident in my constituency came to see me with some serious concerns regarding West Park Hospital.

“These concerns need an urgent response and have a wider impact and I have raised these issues with the chief executive of the trust.

“The Care Quality Commission has been informed and we need to give the same scrutiny to mental health as we do to all other types of care."

Ms Goodman added: “Mental health is a source of great distress to patients and their families.

“It is therefore essential that we see more resources going to both West Park and community care to provide the interventions people need in a timely way."

A spokesperson for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We take concerns about our services very seriously and always carry out full investigations into serious incidents.

“We understand that a letter from a local MP is on its way to us and we will look into the issues raised as soon as we receive it.

“It would not be appropriate for us to comment publicly or provide confidential information about individual cases.”