Teenagers died after ‘appalling’ care at hospitals in Durham and Middlesbrough

Heartbroken parents have warned an NHS mental care trust was a ‘danger to the public’ after three girls took their own lives following ‘appalling’ failures in NHS mental health care.

Damning new reports into the deaths of teenage girls Christie Harnett, Nadia Sharif and Emily Moore identify 119 shocking failures in health and social care that led to their deaths.

The findings provide a damning assessment of the care provided by the Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), while also revealing ‘multifaceted and systemic’ failings at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough where the three girls stayed.

Christie and Nadia, both 17, died at the Teesside facility in 2019, while Shildon’s teenager Emily died at Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham, in 2020.

Their deaths caused an angry public outcry and led to the closure of West Lane Hospital.

Brent Kilmurray, chief executive of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, apologized for the ‘unacceptable failures’, adding families ‘deserved better’

Shocking details reveal how a girl was yelled at and sworn at by staff when she self-harmed – a time when she needed support the most. Another ended up in intensive care after attempting suicide, but the incident was never fully investigated.

Investigators also discovered CCTV footage of Nadia being ‘dragged’ in a back hallway through access to a separate serious investigative report.

The Northern Echo: Nadia and Christie pictured together Nadia and Christie pictured together (Image: The Echo of the North)

Now the families of the three girls have launched a campaign, Rebuild Trust, and are collectively demanding a public inquiry into the trust.

Christie’s parents, Charlotte and Michael Harnett, of Newton Aycliffe, said: ‘Our beautiful Christie, aged just 17, lost her life while in a hospital run by TEWV Trust. Where there was little or no care or compassion. Three years later, the trust is still deemed inadequate and deploys the same “cut and paste” platitudes and excuses. A public inquiry is the only way to prevent misconduct from continuing.

Nadia Sharif’s parents, Hakeel and Arshad Sharif, from Middlesbrough, added: “It’s been horrible and continues on and on. We need a public inquiry to see what went wrong.

The Northern Echo: Emily Moore, from Shildon, was 18 when she died at Lanchester Road HospitalEmily Moore, from Shildon, was 18 when she died at Lanchester Road Hospital (Image: The Echo of the North)

And issuing a united call for an inquest into the deaths, Emily Moore’s parents, David and Susan Moore, said: ‘As a family who have seen with our own eyes and witnessed the horrific care of our daughter Emily , among other things, we believe that a public inquiry is paramount to TEWV moving forward or losing its license to address public mental health needs.

“Even nearly three years after Emily’s death, the Trust is inadequate in many of its locations and it just isn’t getting better. This sanity trust is a danger to the public and cannot continue without the need for a public inquiry.

The families have joined forces with lawyers group INQUEST as they demand justice for the tragic deaths.

Read more: An investigation is underway into a mix-up that saw the family visit the wrong grave for 17 years

What the damning reports reveal

The survey was commissioned by NHS England and conducted by Niche Health and Social Care Consulting.

Issues highlighted in independent reports include ineffective management, reduced staffing, lack of leadership, aggressive handling of disciplinary issues, succession issues in crisis management, failure to address patient concerns and staff, etc.

Between April 2017 and March 2020, the Trust recorded 357 deaths. The CQC’s latest inspection of the trust’s secure services found that these services needed further improvement.

In Emily’s case, the investigation revealed “fragmented, incomplete and inconsistent” care plans, “gaps in the provision of psychological services” and a lack of “effective risk management plans in place”. She also alleged that the staff “screamed at her and called her names when she hurt herself”.

Investigators have identified 47 care and service delivery issues that contributed to Nadia’s death in August 2015.

Christie was involved in a serious incident of self-harm in March 2019 that required her to be treated in intensive care, but investigators say they “have seen no evidence that it was the subject of a proper investigation by the TEWV”.

Complaints from Christie’s family went unanswered for months despite repeated complaints. Why it took 18 months for the trust to formally respond to a complaint was not explained and that response came seven months after Christie’s death.

West Lane Hospital closed in 2019 but reopened under the new name Acklam Road Hospital in May 2021. However, recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections highlight the persistence of cultures and practices dangerous. The CQC announced in June that it would bring criminal charges against TEWV.

What Confidence Says

Brent Kilmurray, chief executive of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to apologize unreservedly for the unacceptable lapses in the care of Christie, Nadia and Emily that these reports have caused. clearly identified. .

“The girls and their families deserved better when they were in our care. I know everyone at the trust offers their deepest sympathies and condolences to the girls’ family and friends for their tragic loss.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure that these failures never happen again.

“However, we know that our actions must match our words. We fully accept the recommendations made in the reports – in fact, the vast majority of them have already been addressed by us when they apply to our services. »

Mr Kilmurray, who became chief executive of the trust the year after the girls died in 2019 and 2020, added: ‘It is clear from the reports that no individual or group of individuals was alone. to blame – it was a failure of our systems with tragic consequences.

“Since then, we have undergone a profound change in our management team and our structure and, just as importantly, we have changed the way we care for and treat our patients. However, the necessary transformation is not complete. We need to improve and ensure that respect, compassion and responsibility are at the center of everything we do.

John Pearce, Chief Executive of Durham County Council for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “We take note of the content of the reports and have already taken a number of steps to address the points raised in them. breast.

“Since 2020, we have put in place a series of measures to ensure that young people receive as much support as possible during and after their discharge from mental health hospitalization.”

If you need help, call the friendly Samaritans team on 116 123

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