‘We need action now’ - mum takes campaign over tragic 20-year-old son’s death to Downing Street

Barbara Keepley MP and Melanie Leahy took the campiagn to London on Monday Picture: MELANIE LEAHY

Barbara Keepley MP and Melanie Leahy took the campiagn to London on Monday Picture: MELANIE LEAHY - Credit: Archant

The mother of a 20-year-old man who died on a mental health ward in Essex seven years ago has spent a day campaigning outside 10 Downing Street.

Melanie Leahy with son Matthew Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Melanie Leahy with son Matthew Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Melanie Leahy's son Matthew died in 2012 at the Linden Centre in Broomfield while under the care of the former North Essex Partnership Trust.

A report published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) later identified a series of failings in his care, as well as that of another vulnerable man identified only as Mr R.

The report said the trust, which is now incorporated into the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, had "missed opportunities" to ensure the safety of the men and that their families had been "badly let down" by the Trust.

Essex Police later confirmed no further action was being taken following an investigation into 25 deaths at the trust.


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Since then, Mrs Leahy has been campaigning for a full public inquiry into Matthew's death.

She launched a petition urging the government to open an investigation, which has gained more than 85,000 signatures.

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On Monday, Mrs Leahy was joined in the capital Labour Worsley and Eccles South parliamentary candidate Barbara Keeley, who she says "couldn't be more supportive".

A further report, published on Monday by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), calls on the government to act on the previous recommendations made by the PHSO.

The report says there is a need for "significant improvements in the safety and quality of mental health provision" and that the minister and the NHS should "make this an urgent priority".

It goes on to say the families affected should be "fully involved" in the upcoming NHS England and Improvement Review.

Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, chairman of PACAC, said: "These two tragic cases must lead to positive change. That is the least we can do for those who have lost their loved ones.

However, Mrs Leahy said she wasn't holding out hope for change.

"Quite honestly, it feels like another paper shuffle," she said.

"It's just more recommendations.

"We have been through the PSHO report and now this.

"This is just dragging on and on - we need action now."

For more information on Mrs Leahy's campaign and to sign her petition, see petition.parliament.uk/petitions/255823

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