Mental health inquiry

Scope for Essex mental health inquiry outlined by government

The government has published the Terms of Reference for the inquiry into the deaths of mental health inpatients at NHS trusts in Essex between 2000 and last year.

The scope of the investigation has been decided by health secretary, Victoria Atkins, and the chair of the inquiry, Baroness Kate Lampard.

The inquiry will cover the:

  • Failings related to the delivery of safe and therapeutic inpatient care
  • Actions of staff
  • Culture and governance at the NHS trusts
  • Quality of investigations and responses by the trusts, and those commissioned by them
  • Engagement between the trusts and other public bodies, like coroners, regulators, commissioners, Care Quality Commission etc.
Victoria Atkins comment

“I am satisfied that the revised Terms of Reference provide the breadth of scope needed to address thoroughly the significant areas of concern identified,” said Baroness Lampard.

She added: “But they are also appropriately focused and proportionate, allowing me to report and make recommendations within a reasonable period of time. This is key given the urgency of the matters I am looking into.”

The inquiry was officially given statutory powers last autumn, after which a public consultation took place for the proposed terms of reference.

Baroness Lampard took over as chair of the inquiry last year when Dr Geraldine Strathdee stepped down. Her experience includes the investigations into Jimmy Savile and the Borders, Immigration and Citizen System.

The government says the final report will be released as soon as practically possible. The inquiry will start off by inviting interested people and organisations to apply for Core Participant status.

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NHE May/June 2024

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