Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Failure to record Mental Health deaths of Children in England and Wales

The charity: INQUEST has identified the lack of any system to monitor, record and publish deaths of children receiving in-patient mental health care in England and Wales.

Panorama tonight will tell the story of 17 year old Sara Green a child who died in 2014 at the privately run Priory Group Cheadle Royal Hospital. Deborah Coles; INQUEST Director said:

“Every day we are hearing about mental health services for children and young people in crisis. The tragedy is that Sara’s story is not an isolated one as we know from our casework. That the government does not know how many children are dying in mental health settings is truly shocking”

Research undertaken by INQUEST has identified the following issues:

1              No single body is responsible for recording deaths of children who died as mental health in-patients

2              At least 9 children have died whilst receiving inpatient psychiatric care between 2010 and 2014.

3              The private providers of mental health, which accounts for 47% of service, refused to answer questions posed by INQUEST on the basis that the Freedom of Information (FOI) did not apply to them.

4              There is a lack of any system in place for an independent investigation following a child death with almost all deaths being investigated by the same institution where the death occurred.

Following the Panorama interview minister for community and social care in England; Mr Alistair Burt has issued a statement saying:

“Panorama’s investigation has unearthed questions about record-keeping and I’m seeking assurances from the NHS England that they have the right processes in place for recording any such death and that lessons are learned.”

If you or a member of your family have been affected by mental health services and need advice about raising your concerns, please contact a member of our Medical Negligence Team on 0800 316 8892 or e-mail John.Boyle@clarkewillmott.com or Kerry.Fifield@clarkewillmot.com