AN MP has called on health bosses to answer "very serious" questions following the death of a second 17-year-old who was a patient at a mental health hospital.

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald described the second death as “staggering”, weeks after another teenager at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough died.

Hospital bosses confirmed a 17-year-old, who has not been named, passed away on Friday, August 9.

The hospital, which is the responsibility of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, is currently under investigation following the death of 17-year-old inpatient in June.

The Care Quality Commission has also since suspended the safety rating for the entire health trust, while the hospital is not currently taking on any new mental health patients.

Mr McDonald said: "It is staggering and of major concern that there should be a second death at West Lane coming so soon after the death of Christie Brayley.

"My heart goes out to the family of the deceased. This will undoubtedly be heart-breaking for them and no doubt further details will emerge.

"It is impossible to comprehend their grief. However, in the meantime, very serious questions need to be answered by the Trust and by the Care Quality Commission.

"It was only a few short months ago that several members of staff were suspended following concerns over working practices and additional resources were then allocated.

"Despite those measures, a young woman tragically lost her life and yet further additional measures were increased and yet all of those such measures failed to prevent a second tragedy."

Mr McDonald said "staff did not turn up to work" to perform badly, but said there had been a "systemic failure" of leadership, oversight and process.

He added: "What on earth has happened in terms of training, instruction, monitoring and supervision - I fully understand that other families of current patients will be desperately worried about the safety of their loved ones and I know this will be hugely difficult for the staff themselves.

"There will be calls to close this hospital but we need to know more about what alternative facilities might be available.

"As I understand it, there is a distinct lack of appropriate placements for patients with such complex needs, so closure may not be a viable option.

Responding, Colin Martin, Chief Executive at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Tragically a 17 year old who was a patient at West Lane Hospital died on Friday.

"Our thoughts are with the young person’s family and friends at this distressing time. We always carry out a full review when someone under our care dies so there will be a full investigation, which will be carried out along with other agency partners.

"We take the recent concerns relating to West Lane Hospital extremely seriously and we are committed to making the improvements required to ensure that we provide safe, high quality care.

“In June, concerns were raised by Care Quality Commission (CQC) around recording of observations, risk assessments and staffing levels given the acuity of patients. As a result we have instigated a significant programme of work. Additional measures have included increased leadership and additional support for staff on the wards.  In July we also consolidated the number of wards at West Lane Hospital from three to two. Doing this helped us to address staffing and safety in order to better meet the needs of the young people in our care. It has also allowed us to bring together skills and capacity to enable staff training and support, improve supervision and to address the concerns identified by the CQC.

“We continue to work closely with NHS England, CQC and other partners to provide assurance that we are making the necessary improvements. We also continue to offer support to the young people, parents and carers during this difficult time and would encourage anyone who is concerned to get in touch with us.”