Eleven bereaved families have united in calls for a statutory public inquiry after "a catalogue of failings" and deaths at a North East mental health trust. The Northern Echo has sent this letter to the Prime Minister on behalf of the families. Here is the letter in full:

Dear Prime Minister, The Northern Echo is reaching out on behalf of the families of patients who have died whilst under the care of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Trust, who are calling on you for a statutory public inquiry.

Last month, the trust was sentenced for failure to provide safe care after pleading guilty in connection with the deaths of two of their patients.

The trust is a specialist mental health trust, serving a population of around two million people living in Teesside, County Durham, Darlington, and most of North Yorkshire.

In recent years, it has been hit by scandal after scandal, and we all believe that our loved ones would still be here if issues with procedure, communication, and leadership had been investigated.

The trust’s success and ratings plummeted rapidly after it grew to encompass York and secured the contracts to provide mental health services to seven North East prisons and Catterick Garrison.

The Northern Echo: The families of patients who died whilst under the care of the TEWV trust have asked the Prime

Between October 2008 and October 2015, a period of seven years, there were 310 deaths of patients reported by the Trust.

In comparison, in the seven years which followed, October 2015 to January 2022, there were 753 deaths of patients reported by the Trust, an increase of over 142 per cent.

Worryingly, serious incidents also increased by 1,072 per cent in the same comparative periods. In June 2019, despite several repeated warnings to the trust, both from the CQC and NHS England, Christie Harnett was able to take her own life whilst detained under the Mental Health Act at West Lane Hospital.

In August of the same year, Nadia Sharif also was able to take her own life whilst detained under the Mental Health Act, leading to the subsequent and immediate closure of the West Lane Hospital. We have all lost loved ones in similar situations, with delayed assessments, ill-considered hospital leave, miscommunication and procedural failures contributing to their deaths.

The impact it has had is immeasurable, and the hole in our lives can never be filled. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

The only way forward is with a statutory public inquiry into the trust, as it is the only way to satisfy legal obligations under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act – the right to life.

TEWV NHS Trust has failed in its duty to provide patients with safe care. Lessons need to be learned to improve mental health services not just about this trust but on a national level.

Without a public inquiry, lessons will not be learned, practices will not change, and more people will die. Public confidence is at an all-time low in relation to the trust.

The trust covers over two million people but is still not able to apply for their licence to run inpatient facilities for children, leading to children being placed in hospitals all over the country.

No one has been held accountable for the multitude of failings at the trust which has led to the loss of far too many lives.

The families and former patients deserve this at the very least.

Yours faithfully,

David and Susan Moore, the parents of Emily Moore

Michael Harnett, Charlotte Harnett and Casey Tremain, the family of Christie Harnett

Jean Zaremba, the mother of Zoe Zaremba

Cheryl Allan, the mother of Ty Channce

Olivia Fawcett, the daughter of Andrew Fawcett

Rebecca Brown, the daughter of Pamela Brown

Ronald and Rachel Stamp, the parents of Ben Stamp

Denise Mawhood, the mother of Ben Mawhood

Viv and Chris Jolly, the parents of Sarah Jolly

Nicola Cunningham, the mother of Beth Cunningham

Donna Watson, the mother of Jay Jones