General FAQs

Why was the Inquiry set up?

The Inquiry was established to examine deaths which have taken place in mental health inpatient settings within NHS Trusts in Essex. The Inquiry will look at the key factors which led to the deaths of individual patients, as well as cultural and governance issues which may have inhibited the Trusts’ ability to learn and take action following breaches of safety. The Inquiry will also assess the quality of previous investigations and reviews.

The Inquiry aims to make actionable recommendations to improve health care not only within Essex, but across the NHS and the wider system.

Which NHS Trusts will be considered by the Inquiry?

The Inquiry will investigate deaths which took place in inpatient mental health settings within the former North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, the former South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust which took over responsibility for mental health services in Essex from 2017.

What period will the Inquiry cover?

The Inquiry will review deaths which took place between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2020.

Who will be working on the Inquiry?

The Inquiry is independent. The Chair is Dr Geraldine Strathdee OBE. Kate Ward is the Secretary to the Inquiry. Catherine Turtle is the Inquiry Legal Advisor. They are supported by a small secretariat team.

What does the Inquiry hope to achieve?

The Inquiry will make recommendations which will improve mental health patient care within the Trusts, as well as within mental health services, the NHS and the wider system.

Is the Inquiry a Public Inquiry?

Yes. The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry is a public inquiry. This means it was established by a Government Minister, but not under an Act of Parliament.

Does the Inquiry have an Indemnity?

Yes. An indemnity has been provided to the Chair and her team by the Department of Health and Social Care, as the sponsoring department .

Indemnities are standard practice within inquires.  An indemnity allows the Inquiry to gather evidence and investigate matters thoroughly, without fear of individual members of the team facing a personal legal claim for the work which they are undertaking on behalf of the Inquiry.

What is the Inquiry’s approach to bullying and harassment?

The Inquiry believes that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. We understand that the topics which the Inquiry is investigating may be very distressing and bring back many difficult memories. We will do all we can to support those who contact us and engage with them in a professional and courteous manner.

If you have information which you consider might be relevant to the matters which the inquiry is investigating, please let us know. If the information falls beyond out terms of reference we will explain this and where possible, we will refer you to another organisation.

The Inquiry will not tolerate any abuse, harassment or bullying behaviour in any form.

When will the Inquiry publish its final report?

The Inquiry was formally established in April 2021 and will aim to report in Spring 2023.

Between the launch of the Inquiry and the final report, we will undertake steps to obtain relevant evidence including speaking to families and those affected by the matters which the Inquiry has been established to address.

How can I contact the Inquiry?

Currently you can contact the Inquiry via email. You can also leave a message on 020 7972 3500.

Alternatively, you can write to the Inquiry via the following postal address: EMHII, PO Box 78136, LONDON, SW1P 9WW.