Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS ...

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust Fined £200,000 for Failures in Care of Christie Harnett and Patient X

Posted : 19th April 2024

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have successfully prosecuted Tees, Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) NHS Trust for the failures in the care of Christie Harnett and Patient X. Following the sentencing at Teesside Magistrates Court on the 18th of April 2024, TEWV has been fined £200,000.

In September 2023, TEWV entered pleas of guilty to two of three charges for failing “to provide safe care and treatment” which exposed patients to “significant risk of avoidable harm.” Both Christie Harnett and Patient X lost their lives while detained under a section in two different hospitals managed by the TEWV Trust.

Christie Harnett, 17, from Newton Aycliffe lost her life while she was a patient at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough in June 2019. West Lane Hospital was closed by inspectors in August 2019 in the aftermath of Nadia Sharif’s death. In January 2019, 33 staff members at West Lane Hospital were suspended for using unauthorised restraint techniques. The failure to consider the impact of this mass staff suspension was cited as one of the service delivery issues in Christie Harnett’s care.

Despite attempting to take her own life in March 2019, the report found no evidence that the circumstances around this incident involving bathroom fixtures had been adequately investigated. According to the report, an ‘organisational failure’ alongside a lack of efficient treatment, therapy, and problems in her care planning, contributed to her death. The report identified 49 care and service delivery failings.

Christie’s family described her as “a beautiful, courageous, caring, independent young woman, with a fiery temper and spirit. There was never a dull moment with her around, especially with her cracking sense of humour.”

Patient X, whose name has been withheld for legal reasons, was a patient at Roseberry Park Hospital in Middlesbrough when she lost their life in November 2020. Patient X died as a result of the same environmental risk factor not being corrected 18 months later.  The Trust’s investigation into Patient X’s death highlighted failures in her care including inadequate risk assessments and missed opportunities to update records.

Patient X’s family said, “She has left behind four amazing children all of which are so different but still so much like Patient X. The only glimmer of hope in all of this is that a part of her lives on in them and I hope that they will go on to achieve incredible things.”

Following on from the Trust’s guilty pleas in relation to the care of both Christie and Patient X, a five day trial took place in February in relation to the death of Emily Moore, in which they were found not guilty. The families returned to Teesside Magistrates Court today for the sentencing of the Trust.

The hearing heard how the deaths of Christie and Patient X have severely affected their loved ones.

Patient X’s mother highlighted, “The death of my daughter isn’t like anything you can begin to comprehend. I wouldn’t wish the pain, anger, and sheer distress on my worst enemy. I have not had a full night’s sleep in the last 3 years, my life is consumed with constant worry. I don’t get a minute to switch off, thoughts are constantly racing around my head. I know I have to be strong for the children, but I haven’t had an opportunity to grieve. I have lost my child, and I haven’t even been able to start to come to terms with that.”

Alistair Smith, representing Christie Harnett’s family, states “The size of the fine did not matter to the families of Christie Harnett and Patient X, it was the admission of guilt from Tees, Esk and Wear Valley which was important.”

Abigail Gowland, representing Patient X’s family, states “The loss that these families have suffered is incomprehensible, not only have their loved ones lost their life but they have also lost a great part of their lives and they feel the impact of this each and every day. I hope that this has been a stark warning to the Trust that their services require urgent improvement.”

Watch the ITV News Special Programme: Teesside Mental Health Trust fined £200,000 over deaths in its care

Support Is Available:

If the subject matter of this article or story has affected you in any way, then please know that support is available.

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. Suicide and self-harm are preventable, and support is available.

Further resources and help can be found here.

In the media:

ITV News: Teesside Mental Health Trust fined £200,000 over deaths of two women in its care

Northern Echo: TEWV fined £200k after Christie Harnett and Patient X deaths

NHS Trust fined £200k for failings that led to death of two mental health patients

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