An independent NHS inquiry into a mental health hospital in Middlesbrough, described by family members of three teenage girls from the Teesside region as a “hell hole” where nobody cared about their daughters, has concluded that there were more than 120 different failures to care for the girls properly and adequately.
The three girls, Christie, Nadia, and Emily were all known to Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and had received treatment in various facilities, including West Lane Hospital, over several years. All three took their own lives following significant failings by the Trust to deal with their complex mental health conditions.
All three of these cases are incredibly difficult to read about and our sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of Christie, Nadia, and Emily. They had every right to believe that their daughters would be protected and cared for once they were admitted to the care of the NHS Trust and they were badly let down. In all three cases, care was grossly lacking and negligent, staff were undertrained, unmotivated and inexperienced and changes could and should have been made so that all three girls would still be alive today.
Christie Harnett was 17 when she took her own life at West Lane Hospital following years of inadequate care. She was moved into her own flat without any proper risk assessment or any support to enable her to live independently at such a young age. She had spent most of her teenage years as an inpatient and the arrangement was allowed to continue even when Christie herself expressed that she was in crisis and needed help. Failings in Christie’s care included inadequate staffing, policies that were vague and difficult to follow or implement and failing to listen to concerns raised by patients or their families. Christie’s mum and grandmother raised a complaint with the Trust about treatment Christie had received long before she died and the Trust completely failed to deal with the complaint, which could have had an impact on Christie’s treatment, until after she had died.