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Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry update for staff

I wanted to update you on the anticipated next steps for the Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry, which is being led by Dr Strathdee and her team.

The Inquiry is currently in its evidence gathering stage. A significant aspect of this, to date, has been requesting documentary evidence from the Trust, and inviting people to attend evidence sessions, or to provide their evidence in writing.

Initially, the Inquiry is focussing on hearing evidence from families, friends, and carers of inpatients who died during the relevant period and others with lived experience of Essex Mental Health services. We understand that those evidence sessions are now drawing to a close and the Inquiry is moving to the next stage and giving an opportunity for staff with experience in working in mental health services to speak with them.

Dr Strathdee has said: "This is your opportunity to tell the Inquiry about your experiences and what you'd like to see changed in mental health care. By providing information or evidence you will allow the Inquiry to better understand the care and treatment provided to patients, to hear first-hand what it's like to work in mental health care, and to develop proposals for lasting improvements".

The Inquiry team have confirmed that they would like to hear from doctors, nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists, as well as care workers, social workers, pharmacists, catering staff, cleaners and porters.

.We also know that the Inquiry may specifically ask some EPUT staff to give evidence and at this stage we are uncertain who will be called but we do know that the Inquiry is currently developing a plan for engagement .Once this has been finalised, we will be able to provide you with an update on the next steps in this process.

To those staff members who are invited or volunteer to give evidence I would ask you to fully engage with the inquiry team and I wanted to reassure you that you will not be detrimentally treated or disadvantaged in the workplace as a result. As an organisation, we have welcomed and engaged with the Inquiry with openness, honesty and transparency. We are proud of our staff and our alignment to our EPUT values and we encourage you to engage with this learning process fully and openly in support the people and communities we serve.

We fully appreciate that as we draw closer to this stage in the inquiry process that this may be an anxious time for some of you and we have established a range of support arrangements for you, which we will share once we are clearer on the timing and process for staff evidence.

As we receive more information, we will provide you with regular updates through my regular briefings and more specific information will be given to those individuals who give evidence as well as the arrangements and process to be expected. We will also provide as much notice as possible and will be happy to answer any questions that you have.

Thank-you in advance for your support.


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