Mental Health Trust pleads guilty to failings over eleven patient deaths in Essex

  • Thursday 12 November 2020, 2:53pm

A mental health trust in Essex has pleaded guilty to safety failings after the deaths of 11 patients involving fixed ligature points.

The suicides or unexplained deaths occurred at seven sites including the Linden Centre in Chelmsford run by the former North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust between October 2004 and March 2015.

The Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting the Essex Partnership University NHS Trust, which was formed in 2017.

At a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, lawyer Bernard Thorogood pleaded guilty on behalf of the Trust. 

He did not dispute any of the facts put forward by the prosecution.

For the prosecution, Shauna Ritchie said the Trust had failed to take steps to protect patients in their care. 

She said they failed to manage the environmental risks from fixed ligature points in its inpatient wards.

After the case the Trust issued a statement

We have today entered a guilty plea to one charge under Section 3(1) Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 following an HSE investigation into the former North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families whose loved ones were part of this investigation.Paul Scott, Chief Executive, North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

The judge committed the case to Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing, on December 10th

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