Families of patients who lost their lives while under the care of an NHS trust after a "catalogue of failures" have written an open letter to the Prime Minister in a desperate plea to hold a public inquiry.

The bereaved families of 11 patients, all of whom died whilst under the care of scandal-stricken Tees, Esk, and Wear Valleys mental health trust have written a letter saying they, and their loved ones “deserve a public inquiry at the very least”.

This follows a period of intense scrutiny for the trust, including inspections grading it as ‘requiring improvement’, a raft of critical inquests into patient deaths, and a prosecution by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Last month, they were fined £200,000 after pleading guilty in connection with the deaths of two of their patients, Christie Harnett, 17, and an unnamed mum, known as Patient X for legal reasons, at their Middlesbrough hospitals.

The trust admitted that it failed to adequately assess patients' self-harm and suicide risk, or implement effective ways to reduce those risks.

A letter, asking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to commit to a public inquiry into the deaths at the trust, was sent on Friday, May 10, by The Northern Echo on behalf of the bereaved families.

David and Susan Moore, from Shildon, are the parents of 18-year-old Emily Moore, who took her own life at Lanchester Road Hospital, in Durham, signed the letter as part of their ongoing campaign for an inquiry.

At trial, the trust was found not guilty of providing unsafe care to Emily.

The pair have spent years fighting for justice for their daughter, and trying to improve care for inpatients at TEWV hospitals.

The family of Christie Harnett has also signed the open letter. For them, though the trust pled guilty in connection with her death at TEWV’s since shut down West Lane hospital, they do not believe anything has meaningfully changed.

Outside the court at the sentencing hearing, Christie’s stepfather Michael Harnett said: “You'd hope things would have gotten better but I think it's still bad.

“I never got to see her turn 18, or even 21. We will never get to see her become a mother. I will never get to walk my daughter down the aisle.

“We have had them stolen from us because the place that was meant to keep her safe, in my opinion, totally failed her."

Donna Watson has signed the letter, after the death of her son Jay Jones, in December 2022. Twenty-three-year-old Jay, who had been born female, had autism, and took his life in Roseberry Park Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Viv and Chris Jolly, from Scarborough, have signed the letter on behalf of their daughter Sarah, who died at 34, after taking an overdose of prescription medication whilst living in sheltered accommodation.

In a serious incident report the family were sent, the trust had concluded that “harm was caused as a result of an act, omission or mistake made during the provision of this person's care and treatment”.

They told The Northern Echo: “We feel it is paramount that TEWV are subject to a public inquiry so that their repeated failings are stopped. At the moment it is far too easy for failings to be repeated as each death is dealt with separately.”

Olivia Fawcett and Rebecca Brown who lost their father and mother respectively, in 2019, have added their names to the call to action.

Jean Zaremba, Cheryl Allan, Ronald and Rachel Stamp also signed the letter, all of whom lost their children, who were under the care of TEWV for varying periods.

Number 10 confirmed the receipt of The Northern Echo’s letter. A government spokesperson said: “The safety of all patients is of vital importance, and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of people who have died whilst under the care of the trust.

“We are committed to providing quality care for all patients and identifying ways we can improve mental health inpatient care, better protect patients, and create a safe working environment for staff.

“Whilst the CQC has found some improvements at the trust in its most recent inspection report, published October 2023, we are clear that significant further progress is needed, and this is something that the trust has fully committed to.”