North East MPs have responded to a new ombudsman report deeming a local mental health trust “in need of improvement”.

Tees, Esk, and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) was this week told “more steps had to be taken” to ensure patient safety and improve care, though the Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigator noted that “improvements had been made”.

Now, two of the region’s politicians have voiced their concerns about the report.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said he believed that “a full public inquiry remains… utterly essential” to know if the trust’s mental health services are “fit for purpose”.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, added that “whilst positive steps had been taken, it is clear that there is still a long way to go.”

TEWV has faced widespread criticism for its care – but the latest inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has noted that steps forward have been made. 

The trust has vowed to do more going forward, whilst expressing “pride in [our] staff” for spearheading and adapting to changes, and “confidence that improvements will continue”.

But TEWV’s overall rating has not changed, still being rated as “needs improvement”, and although no service has been rated inadequate any longer, the CQC has outlined that “more needs to be done.”

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said: “Despite the positive spin we have seen from the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) Trust today we should be absolutely clear that the Care Quality Commission have found that the service still requires improvement.

“Just last month TEWV pleaded guilty in court, admitting to failures in its care for two young women who tragically took their own lives. A third case is ongoing.

“I am immensely disappointed at the findings today and I am seeking an immediate meeting with the trust as they are clearly not making the progress that is so badly needed.

“I am alarmed that given the grave concerns expressed in recent years in light of the appallingly and tragic failings of the Trust, there are still outstanding concerns around safety, staffing and incident investigations which have been identified by the CQC.

“I will remain absolutely as vocal as I can be in support of the families of the three young women no longer with us. Those families want and demand three things: truth, justice and change. In my view, a full public inquiry into these tragedies remains utterly essential to achieve that.”

Alex Cunningham MP added: “Patients, family members and staff all deserve to know that the facilities provided by the mental health facilities are fit for purpose and working in the best interests of those using the service.

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"While positive steps have been taken by our own local Tees, Esk and Wear (TEWV) NHS Trust, it is clear from this latest report that there is still a long way to go.

“Improvement does appear to be incremental, and I wholly believe we need to see an acceleration of that improvement in order to win back public trust.

"Nor should this just be on the shoulders of the Trust itself. We need to see more support, including resources, from the Government to ensure TEWV and its partners have the means to make lasting improvements for the benefit of its service users.”