A MENTAL health hospital for young people which was ordered to shut following the deaths of two teenagers last year is set to reopen, under new management.

Inpatient wards at West Lane Hospital, in Middlesbrough, were closed a year ago following the deaths of 17-year-olds Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) took enforcement action last August which meant Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust would no longer be able to run CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) at the West Lane site.

Today, NHS England and NHS Improvement confirmed it is progressing plans to restore inpatient CAMHS at the facility - to reduce out of area placements as a matter of priority - but under the control of a different Trust with different staff.

A spokesperson said: "This step is being taken as part of a system wide plan to manage the capacity of inpatient CAMHS beds regionally.

"There are no suitable alternative sites or premises in the region that can be used for re-establishing an inpatient CAMHS service quickly.

"NHS England and NHS Improvement will commission Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) to initially provide up to a 10-bed general adolescent inpatient CAMHS service on a temporary basis at the West Lane Hospital site and we expect this service to be up and running early next year.

"Further plans will also be developed to support the re-opening of additional CAMHS beds as required to meet the needs of the population.

"As part of the arrangements, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust will have no involvement in the running of inpatient CAMHS services from the West Lane Hospital facility.

"The inpatient CAMHS service at West Lane will be fully governed by and accountable to Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and employ its own workforce."

Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust will continue to provide outpatient and community CAMHS services from the West Lane site.

Meanwhile, an independent investigation in TEWV by Niche Consulting, which was commissioned by NHS England-commissioned following a number of patient deaths and a poor inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is ongoing.

CNTW has made a commitment to work closely with service users and families, the CQC, NHS England and NHS Improvement and other interested parties to be responsive to feedback and ensure further involvement as they work towards reopening CAMHS inpatient facilities.

Christie Harnett's father, Michael, of Newton Aycliffe, said: "It definitely does need opening to provide a vital service in that area.

"I hope it really is with new management and staff and they should think about renaming the wards."

He said the Newberry Centre, which accommodates children with mental health problems; the Westwood Centre low secure adolescent ward and Evergreen Centre, a specialist eating disorders inpatient ward, need a fresh start.

He said: "They are famous in the wrong way, kids who are struggling won't want to go to them.

"I have more faith in the Newcastle Trust, Christie was with them for about seven weeks and the improvements in her were unreal." 

The Northern Echo: Andy McDonald

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald welcomed the decision to restore mental health services for children and adolescents at West Lane, under CNTW NHS Trust, but said he was bitterly disappointed about how long it had taken to reach the decision.

He said: "I met with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier this year to bring these matters to his attention and whilst this new arrangement has been under discussion for many months, the confirming decision only comes now. 

"It’s not acceptable that it has taken so long to get to this point and worse still, the replacement service won’t be up and running until early 2021.

"Our community has been without a vital in-patient health service for far too long and I can only hope these new arrangements will be implemented smoothly and we get the service restored at the earliest possible opportunity. 

"The response to these tragedies has been woefully slow on all fronts.

"There have been far too many delays running through a number of agencies involved in getting to a full and independent inquiry and the answers that the families need. 

"The independent inquiry that NHS England has commissioned Niche Consulting to do, is still to fully start.

"I am continually pressing all those public bodies involved, to get on with what they have to do, let the inquiry get established and let those families understand how it was that their loved ones in the care of health services met their deaths.

"They need answers and these continuing delays are simply unacceptable. 

"I will continue to press the various public bodies involved and stress the importance and urgency of this situation and encourage them to give these terrible and tragic matters the attention they deserve and with much greater urgency.”