The family of a man who took his own life have spoken out about the “compassionless” care he received whilst in hospital.

Matthew Gale, 37, died on Sunday, March 19, after leaving West Park Hospital in Darlington, where he was undergoing treatment for chronic ill mental health.

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust have said that they will carry out a “full review” of Matthew’s care.

These allegations come only days after a damning report into the mental health provision at a different hospital previously run by TEWV was released, finding some areas of care to be “ultimately damaging to patients”.

The Northern Echo: Matthew Gale's family feel 'compassionless' care contributed to his death. Matthew Gale's family feel 'compassionless' care contributed to his death. (Image: The Gale Family)

Read more: 'Failures' exposed at West Lane Hospital before deaths of three girls

The Trust has come under scrutiny following the tragic deaths of three teenagers in their care. An independent investigation found that the 2019 deaths of Christie Harnett, and Nadia Sharif, both 17, were the result of the care provided at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Following Matthew’s death, his mother Susan Gale and twin brother James Gale have claimed that “incompetent and compassionless care” contributed to his mental health struggles and pushed him to take his own life.

They claimed that the hospital did not have the correct address for Matthew on file, had never explained Matthew’s diagnosis to him or his family, repeatedly ignored his threats to take his own life, and continued to medicate him in ways he resented, despite his promises to kill himself.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, renewed calls for an inquiry into the trust, saying: “I am so sorry to hear about the death of Matthew and my heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends. 

Read more: Andy McDonald MP's inquiry call into Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Trust

“It would seem that this is yet more justification for the holding of a public inquiry into Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. The Minister has yet to make a decision on this matter and I will continue to press the matter. All the families deserve nothing less.” 

In relation to the patient’s address, a spokesperson for TEWV said they always checked they have up-to-date addresses and rely on patients and family to provide current information.

James Gale said: “West Park and the Trust massively failed him and the family.

“There’s been yet another suicide in the same trust – another young man dead after he wasn’t given the proper care.”

On the Sunday he died, Matthew was out of hospital on planned leave with his mother, as part of a therapeutic care plan. They went for a roast dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, following which Matthew said he would return to his flat in Darlington for a short period.

The Northern Echo:

But when Ms Gale went to his flat to pick Matthew up and return him to West Park, he was not there.

She said: “I saw his keys on the mat and I knew that he had gone to kill himself, but when I phoned the hospital, they told me that he would turn up.

“I insisted that I thought something had happened, but they said I should be more positive.

“They didn’t even have the right address on file for him – the hospital thought he lived with me.”

Read more: Teenagers died after 'appalling' care at Durham and Middlesbrough hospitals

“All my son wanted was dignity and normality – but no one listened. No one listens to the patient. No one listened to the family.”

Though the family claims that they struggled to get many staff members to listen to them, Susan wanted to highlight that this was not always the case.

“Recently, a doctor and a registrar have been working hard to change our experience with West Park – they were open, and they listened to us,” she said.

The family has claimed that they raised concerns over the care Matthew received multiple times and filed a complaint with the Trust in 2017.

Ms Gale added: “After his death, the hospital told me that they didn’t expect this – but we did. All the signs were there, and we had told him that this was his intention, but no one listened.

“Matthew was allowed to plan and carry out his suicide, and his intention was always clear.

“You put your trust in people to keep your family safe when they are unwell – but why hasn’t it happened? Why is my son being brought back to me dead? Why is no one held accountable for his death?”

Read more: Darlington hospital ‘failed to appreciate’ Tricky's daughter was at increased risk of suicide

In addition to “no one listening” to concerns, the family also claim that the hospital provided little to no aftercare when Matthew came out of hospital. 

“He dreaded every time he had to go into West Park, and whenever he came out, he was just released into my care.

“My family and I are so relieved that he never has to go into that hospital again and suffer with no aftercare.”

A spokesperson for TEWV, said: “Our hearts go out to Matthew’s family and friends. It is incredibly sad when someone under our care dies, and we always carry out a full review of a person’s care.

“We have a duty to protect patient confidentiality which means we are limited in what information we can share about Matthew however we welcome the opportunity to involve his family in our review of his care and to discuss their concerns.”

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“We always check that we have an up-to-date address recorded for our patients, and this is clearly documented in their clinical records. This does require our patients and families to provide accurate and current information.”

If you need support, you can contact the following:

  • Samaritans are available, day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.
  • If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258.
  • SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58.
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust crisis line 0800 0516 171.