Tees

West Lane Hospital deaths prompt independent probe

Christie Harnett (left) and Nadia Sharif Image copyright Harnett/Sharif family handouts
Image caption The probe follows the deaths of Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif

An independent investigation has been launched into failings at a mental health hospital where two teenage patients died.

Inpatient wards at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough were closed in September following the deaths of Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif.

NHS England has begun commissioning an independent inquiry.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust (TEWV) has apologised to the families for the poor care.

Christie Harnett, 17, died in June and Nadia Sharif, also 17, died on 9 August.

One woman who had been treated there told the BBC she felt like a "caged animal".

A total of 20 staff members were suspended by the trust in the 12 months leading up to the ward closures as the Care Quality Commission said patients were at high risk of "avoidable harm".

NHS England's investigation will see patients, families and staff interviewed about the hospital's troubles.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Staff have faced claims they used techniques for moving people "not in line with trust policy"

Middlesbrough's Labour MP Andy McDonald has spoken to the families of the teenagers, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He revealed he had met relatives of other patients who had "very real cause for complaint" about their treatment and experiences at West Lane.

Elizabeth Moody, director of nursing and governance at TEWV, offered apologies to all involved at a health scrutiny panel in September.

"We are very sorry for what has happened and we are absolutely devastated not only as an organisation but on a personal level as well," she said.

She told councillors urgent actions had been put in place to turn performance around, adding a third of the hospital's staff were off sick when the deaths occurred.

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