Health trust apology after reports into deaths of three teenagers seeking mental health care | UK News


A health trust has apologised “unreservedly” over the care of three teenage girls who died within eight months at hospitals under its control.

It comes after three separate independent investigations found failings by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust contributed to the deaths of 17-year-old Christie Harnett, Nadia Sharif, also 17, and 18-year-old Emily Moore who had all been diagnosed with complex mental health needs and took their own lives between June 2019 and February 2020.

Their families said the reports had found “multi-faceted and systemic” failings in the care of the teenagers, and have called for a public inquiry after investigators made a total of 47 recommendations.

The investigations looked at the care and treatment of all three girls at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough, and in addition for Emily, at Lanchester Road Hospital in Durham, as well as the actions from partner organisations.

Responding to the reports’ findings, Brent Kilmurray, chief executive of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to apologise unreservedly for the unacceptable failings in the care of Christie, Nadia and Emily which these reports have clearly identified.

“The girls and their families deserved better while under our care. I know everyone at the trust offers their heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the girls’ families and friends for their tragic loss.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure these failings can never be repeated.

“However, we know that our actions must match our words. We accept in full the recommendations made in the reports – in fact the overwhelming majority of them have already been addressed by us where applicable to our services.”

Mr Kilmurray, who became chief executive at the Trust the year after the girls’ deaths in 2019 and 2020, added: “It is clear from the reports that no single individual or group of individuals were solely to blame – it was a failure of our systems with tragic consequences.

“We have since undergone a thorough change in our senior leadership team and our structure and, as importantly, changed the way we care and treat our patients. However, the transformation needed is not complete. We need to get better and ensure that respect, compassion and responsibility is at the centre of everything we do.”

The families of the girls said in a statement: “Our beautiful girls should not have been failed in this way, and we need the answers to many more questions. Not just for us but for the many other families who we know have suffered the pain of losing a loved one who should not have died but should have been cared for properly.

“We call on the government to start a public inquiry that looks at this Trust and the services provided across the country for young people in crisis. For Christie, Nadia and Emily.”


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