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Care Quality Commission Inspection Report reinforces need for Statutory Public Inquiry into Essex Mental Health Services

The recently published Care Quality Commission report that came out last week includes direction to Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust to make improvements to its psychiatric intensive care units. The report comes following their latest inspection of a 17 bed ward which provides care and treatment for men experiencing acute mental health difficulties. Link to full report.

At the end of 2020, Melanie Leahy and other families rejected an offer by Nadine Dorries to hold an Independent Inquiry, standing firm for a Statutory Public Inquiry which will ensure individuals called to give evidence are obliged to attend and must give evidence under oath.

Commenting on this report, Melanie Leahy said: “Yet another damning report, after yet another recent patient death! How many more must die before the call for a comprehensive Statutory Public Inquiry from not, just myself, but so many other families in Essex and across the country is listened to?

 “Our families still await a response from Mrs Nadine Dorries and are hugely affected by the ongoing delays. So many years, multiple deaths and clear evidence provided that show Essex Mental Health Services have ignored dangerous practices across the county that has led and continues to lead to preventable deaths. 

“We are determined to get to the truth through the full scrutiny of a Statutory Public Inquiry. We must see change, justice and accountability without further delay.

Priya Singh, a solicitor in HJA’s legal team supporting the families said: “This is frightening. Why are such vulnerable people still being exposed to such high risks? Despite all the investigations, reports, recommendations and served notices to date, there are still shocking failures in protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Surely there is now more than sufficient evidence and justification for the government to listen to what Melanie Leahy and numerous other families are calling for and to grant, without any further delay, a full Statutory Public Inquiry into failings of mental health care in Essex.”

A large number of families and individuals (60 at the last count and growing) who have either lost loved ones or who have suffered appalling neglect and in some cases abuse whilst in the “care” of the various mental health institutions across Essex, are now behind the call for a Statutory Public Inquiry.

This campaign began in response to ‘calamitous failings’ within the NHS Mental Health Services in Essex. Melanie Leahy’s son Matthew died while under the care of the Linden Centre. Matthew was just 20. His death, led to many reviews and investigations, all of which in the end amounted to a whitewash and an expensive and pointless ‘tick box’ exercise. Melanie and all the other families still don’t have the answers they are looking for and, as importantly nothing, has changed.

Vulnerable people continue to be failed and the deaths continue. The case for a statutory public inquiry could not be stronger. If the government does not listen now, they will be failing the most vulnerable in our society and will ultimately have to accept responsibility for allowing an unacceptable situation to continue and the consequences that flow from that.