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Hodge Jones & Allen Advocates for Bereaved Families in Statutory Inquiry into Essex Mental Health Care Failures

Talk TV, Trisha Goddard interviews Priya Singh
from Hodge Jones & Allen

Watch the full interview with Trisha Goddard on TalkTV at 1:47:20

Leading law firm Hodge Jones & Allen is at the forefront of a legal action representing over 120 families affected by the catastrophic failures within Essex’s mental health care services. These failures have tragically resulted in nearly 2000 deaths, including children, either while under the care of the Essex Partnership University NHS Trust or within three months of discharge. The inquiry, initially non-statutory and thus unable to compel witness testimony, gained statutory power due to relentless advocacy from affected families and their legal representatives.

Senior Associate Priya Singh, a pivotal figure in this legal battle, highlighted the grim realities faced by patients with psychiatric conditions who were not provided tailored care. Instances of high suicide-risk patients left unmonitored and the inappropriate use of restraints are among the myriad of issues now under scrutiny. “It’s shocking and deeply concerning,” Singh commented, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive reform and the Terms of Reference submitted by Hodge Jones & Allen is rubber-stamped.

The inquiry initially chaired by Dr. Geraldine Strathdee, OBE, a leading psychiatrist and former National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England, was aimed at investigating 21 key areas of care. These include the management of self-harm and suicide risk, use of restraints, drug deployment, and the overall physical health care of patients within the Essex mental health facilities. Baroness Kate Lampard CBE currently chairs the Lampard Inquiry (formally known as The Essex Mental Health Inpatient Inquiry).

Despite achieving statutory status in June last year, progress has been stymied awaiting the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Minister’s approval of the terms of reference. This delay exacerbates the anguish of families who, according to Singh, “feel powerless” and continue to endure the pain of loss without closure or justice. The recent death under the trust’s care underscores the inquiry’s critical urgency.

Hodge Jones & Allen’s pro bono efforts reflect a stark “inequality of arms” in the fight for accountability and reform. The firm’s dedication to securing justice for the bereaved families stands in stark contrast to the perceived inaction and obfuscation from those in power.

The firm urges immediate action to advance the inquiry, emphasising that without a thorough and transparent examination of these failures, the cycle of preventable tragedies is doomed to continue. “If we can’t get this inquiry running, what hope is there for the rest of the country?” Singh posits, highlighting the national implications of the inquiry’s findings and recommendations.

As the legal process unfolds, Hodge Jones & Allen remains committed to advocating for those affected by the Essex mental health care crisis, ensuring their voices are heard, and pushing for the systemic changes necessary to prevent future tragedies.

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