Politicians have sprung to action after The Northern Echo published an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling for an inquiry into goings on a scandal-hit North East mental health trust after a spate of troubling deaths.

Eleven bereaved families have written to Rishi Sunak, asking for a public inquiry into Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) mental health trust, which they hold responsible for the tragic deaths of their loved ones.

Now, politicians have reacted. Some have said there must be “no more delays” to a public inquiry looking into unexpected deaths and serious incidents at the trust, which families believe has the power to massively increase the quality of mental health care in region.

Others have asked the trust to “take a deep look inside itself” and asses “whether it has the right people in its leadership”.

All were in agreement, with the families and the Echo, that something has to change.

Mary Kelly Foy, Labour MP for Durham City, has renewed her calls for a public inquiry, which she first made last summer, saying the “harrowing testimonies” made by TEWV patients should already have spurred the Prime Minister to commit to an inquiry.

Ms Foy also confirmed she would be speaking to Labour Party leadership about the possibility of an inquiry in case of a change in government, and will be writing to the Prime Minister personally to follow up the open letter.

 She said: “I commend the bravery and fortitude of the families for speaking out and writing this letter.

“But they shouldn’t have had to. Instead, the Prime Minister should’ve already brought forward plans for a full public inquiry.

“Ministers have known about this unjust situation for years. Last June, for instance, I called for a public inquiry on the floor of the House of Commons. This was due to the harrowing testimonies I’ve received from affected constituents in the City of Durham. I know other MPs have done the same.

“No more delays. The Prime Minister must now commit to a public inquiry. Those who lost their lives, and their grieving families, deserve justice.”

Though Peter Gibson, Conservative MP for Darlington “shares the deep concerns” about failings at the trust, he believes  “we know that [a public inquiry] will conclude what we already know; that there have been significant and tragic failings”.

Instead, he has lobbied that the trust “use its time efforts and resources in improving its care for everyone it serves, transforming into an open transparent and genuinely patient-focused organisation”.

“TEWV needs to look deep inside itself and ask whether it has the right people in its leadership and on its board and if it doesn’t it needs to make changes. Rapidly, because as the Echo has said something has to change.”

Mr Gibson added: “I understand the calls for a public inquiry, I too share many of the deep concerns about the failings in the trust and the tragic cases which the Northern Echo has highlighted. I too have seen first-hand the impact of these failures in my own constituency surgery.

“A public inquiry will cost considerable sums and take considerable time, and we know that it will conclude, what we already know that there have been significant and tragic failings. I want to see the trust use its time efforts and resources in improving its care for everyone it serves, transforming into an open transparent and genuinely patient focused organisation.

“A public inquiry will tell us something in the future at great expense, I want the improvements in care to happen now.”

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, told The Northern Echo that his “heart went out” to the loved ones of patients who died under the care of TEWV  “unexpectedly, and in some cases, so avoidably”.

He added: "My heart goes out to those whose loved ones have died in the care of the NHS so unexpectedly and, as we now know from the recent court proceedings, in some cases, so avoidably.

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“The families raise some very important points in their letter to the Prime Minister and I will certainly be keen to read his reply or any reply from the Department of Health and Social Care." 

Simon Clark, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South, said: “The failures at TEWV were very serious and the families of all those affected deserve to know that the terrible mistakes that were made have been addressed.  

“I have a great deal of sympathy with a public inquiry, not least because clarity could help the Trust to move forward and resume inpatient services for young people - but only when all the questions have been answered and lessons learned.”