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Inquiry Call for Evidence Press Release

Independent Public Inquiry into deaths of mental health inpatients launches call for evidence.

Families, carers, and friends of inpatients in Essex who died between 2000 and 2020 are invited to give evidence to the independent Inquiry about what happened to their loved one. Anyone else with experience of mental health inpatient services in Essex during the 21 year period are also invited to give evidence to the Inquiry.

10 November 2021: The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry has today launched a call for evidence from families and carers of inpatients who died across NHS Trusts in Essex between 2000-2020, as well as anyone else with experience of mental health inpatient services across Essex during this 21 year period.

This is a chance for anyone with experience of mental health inpatient services in Essex to have their story heard and in doing so inform change in the provision of mental health services in the future.  

Dr Geraldine Strathdee, Chair of the Independent Inquiry, said: “I took the job as the Chair of the Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry because I firmly believe that mental health care can and should do better for those who need it. I know that to improve mental health care we need to listen to those who have experienced it. This is why, hearing directly from families and carers who best knew those that were tragically lost, and patients who have experienced care themselves, is at the heart of this Inquiry. We will then develop clear recommendations for the Essex Trust, and the wider system, so that current and future inpatients receive safe, compassionate, and therapeutic care.

The Inquiry is ready to listen to anyone who would like to speak to us. Anyone who does speak to the Inquiry will be supported, and treated with dignity, care, and respect.”

As well as patients, families and carers, there will also be the opportunity over the coming weeks and months for staff and organisations, as well as anyone else who would like to, to provide evidence. The Inquiry will similarly launch a call to evidence for other groups related to the Inquiry in due course.

The Inquiry intends to publish its findings and recommendations in spring 2023. These recommendations will be essential to taking forward lessons learned to improve mental health services and prevent inpatient deaths in the future, not only in Essex but across the NHS and wider system.

Anyone who wishes to give evidence can contact the Inquiry team by emailing contact@emhii.org.uk, calling 0207 972 3500 or filling out this webform. The Inquiry team will respond as soon as they can to arrange a session. Sessions will be held in Chelmsford (Essex) and in London and you will be invited to speak to two members of the Inquiry team.

We know that for many people, sharing information about those that have died, or your own experience as an inpatient, will be hugely difficult. The Inquiry team have set out further information on what you can expect from the evidence process in these FAQs and this video. The team will support you throughout and you will have access to specialist emotional support.

Today’s call for evidence follows publication of the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference in August. These were publicly consulted on for 10 weeks from 26th May 2021 and can be found here. After all evidence has been heard, the Inquiry team will begin their preliminary analysis and consider whether further evidence is required to meet its Terms of Reference and enable development of their recommendations for improving patient safety and mental health care.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the process around giving evidence, or any other aspect of the Inquiry, please email contact@emhii.org.uk or call us on 0207 972 3500.

You can find more information on the call for evidence here.

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