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Mind comments on West Lane hospital report detailing repeated failings

Tuesday, 21 March 2023 Mind

A report into the state of West Lane hospital in Middlesbrough, a now-closed NHS mental health trust, has found that conditions at the hospital were “chaotic and unsafe.”

The report was commissioned by NHS England and independently carried out by Niche Health and Social Care Consulting, following the deaths of three young women in its care. The report was announced after Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif, who were both 17, and Emily Moore, who was 18, all took their lives in the same 8 month period in 2019 and 2020 while under the care of the trust.

The report makes shocking findings as to the conditions at the trust. It states that self-harm in the ward was ‘facilitated’, safety failings were routinely ignored, and “excessive and inappropriate” restraint was made use of.

Commenting on the report, Gemma Byrne, Head of Health, Policy & Campaigns at Mind said:

“This report makes it clear: Christie, Nadia and Emily, alongside many other people who were treated at West Lane, were completely failed by services that were meant to protect them at their most unwell. When a young person is in a mental health hospital, as a very minimum they should expect to be kept safe and be treated with care, compassion, and dignity. The care described in the report is far from safe or therapeutic, and is completely unacceptable. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by these horrific failings.

“The sad truth is that these issues are not limited to West Lane - they run throughout our inpatient mental health system. Over the last few months and years, we’ve seen time after time reports of unsafe care, abuse and excessive restraint in environments that are far from therapeutic. This is a systemic crisis, and the UK government cannot wait any longer to address it.

“This is why Mind is calling for the UK government to launch a full statutory inquiry into the state of inpatient mental health settings. This would allow the voices of people with lived experience and their loved ones to be heard, and identify essential systemic changes. This needs to go hand in hand with the overdue long-term investment mental health services need to deliver these changes.

“These incidents also serve as a vital reminder about why the UK government needs to progress with the reform of the Mental Health Act and why we need the Bill strengthened, especially in reforms for under 18s in hospitals."


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