Politicians from the North East have commented on the outcome of a trial which saw a local hospital trust cleared of unsafe care in the run-up to a teenager's death. 

Eighteen-year-old Emily Moore died while being treated as an inpatient at Lanchester Road psychiatric hospital in Durham, in February 2020. The hospital is run by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).

Healthcare ombudsman the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had alleged that a “poor quality” care plan exposed Emily to unsafe care and serious risk of avoidable harm, and accused Lanchester Road of breaching regulations 12 and 22 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

But after a four-day trial, district judge Marie Mallon said the “overwhelming evidence” presented by the trust’s defence team meant she could not find it guilty of any criminal offence.

Next month, TEWV is set to be sentenced for unsafe care in connection with the deaths of two other patients, which the organisation pleaded guilty to last year. 

Politicians have reacted to the verdict, saying that there have been "too many failings" - but some have said they have seen "many improvements". 

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald has renewed his call for a "judge-led inquiry" into mental health provisions for young people, saying "systemic failures need to be addressed".

Mr McDonald said: “Today’s verdict does not detract from the fact that the NHS England commissioned report into these deaths was completely damning of Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust. 

“So far we have seen no accountability on behalf of anyone involved in these matters from TEWV and while we must now await the sentencing hearing next month there remains systemic failures which need to be addressed. 

“I will continue to stress the need for a wide-ranging judge-led public inquiry into not only the deaths of these much-loved young women but the whole provision of mental health services for young people.” 

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said: "The failures of the trust which led to the deaths of the young people were substantial, critical and must not be forgotten. The important thing now is for the trust, NHS, regulators and other partners to ensure that never again will we see a repeat of the tragic loss of young people's lives.  

"The CQC and health bosses must also impose the strictest inspection and monitoring regime on the Trust as it develops its services for the future to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose."

But Peter Gibson, Darlington's MP, said that he has seen "some improvement" in local mental health care. 

Mr Gibson told The Northern Echo: "I have read reports of the recent court case against TEWV. The loss of any life is tragic and I extend my condolences to all the families involved.

"We have sadly seen too many failings from TEWV in recent years. It would not be appropriate for me to analyse the court’s findings on the evidence in this case as I was not present at the hearing to see the evidence.

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"That said massive improvements are required at TEWV on a range of fronts to deliver the services our community deserves. Whilst I have been reluctant to support calls for a public inquiry which would simply tell us what we already know, I do understand those growing calls.

"As a constituency MP I have in recent months seen some improvement in local mental health services but there is much more needs to be done, from community mental health, the crisis team, in-patient services, CAMHS etc and I will continue to press for the improvements we need."

City of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy added: "My heart goes out to Emily’s family. We all know this is an injustice. I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Health about this case and my wider concerns about TEWV."