The Havering Daily is supporting a mother’s call for truth, accountability and change to services after the death of Matthew Leahy at just 20 years old.
Melanie Leahy, whose family are from Collier Row shares her heart breaking story with the Havering Daily.
In 2012 Melaine’s only son Matthew was taken to a psychiatric ward for his own safety, within 7 days of arriving on the ward, Matthew was dead.
Melanie Leahy has been campaigning for 7 years to date. She is fighting for a Public Enquiry to uncover the truth about what happened to Matthew and to bring about future change for others within the mental health system.
Melanie completed a UK Parliament petition November 2019, which we have been supporting.
The petition gained 105,580 UK signatures and only last week was considered by the newly elected petitions committee as whether they would send for debate.
Sir Norman Lamb called for a Public Inquiry into Matthews’s death last June and still, Justice is denied.
“The PHSO’s report into Matthew’s death laid bare the shambolic way in which this tragic case was handled by the North Essex Partnership University Trust.
“The PHSO has passed the buck by calling on NHS Improvement to conduct another review. This is very disappointing. It is clear that the only way justice can be done is for the Government to launch a public inquiry.”
Priti Patel MP wrote in May 2019:
“Questions about the Trusts care of vulnerable patients remain unanswered and I support Mrs Leahy’s call for a public inquiry into this case”
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth joined that call in October 2019:
“I fully support calls for a Public Inquiry into Matthew’s death to ensure that the lessons of this tragic case are learned.
“The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report into Matthew’s death outlined the shambolic way in which this tragic case was handled by the North Essex Partnership University Trust.
“The Ombudsman’s findings that:
There was a “systemic failure” to tackle repeated and critical failings over an unacceptable period of time.
That there were ‘missed opportunities’ to ensure the safety of the men that were being cared for.
That the lack of timely safety improvements following the deaths is completely unacceptable…it’s important the NHS understands why this happened and what lessons can be learned to prevent the same mistakes happening again.
The call from the Ombudsman for NHS Improvement to conduct another review is simply not good enough. The Government must ensure that justice is done and launch a Public Inquiry, to ensure all
the issues around Matthew’s death are fully considered to protect the human rights of all young people in care units.”
Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and Social Care confirms her support for a Public Inquiry into Matthew’s death.
Only last week on the petitions committee website it was published that they were still deciding what action to take on the petition.
Melanie said: “The people of this country have had enough of failings and deaths being covered up. I offered my son’s death to be learned from many many months ago and continue to offer his death for learning to the government.
“We have united and the people will no longer tolerate the ongoing sexual/physical abuse and poor care of their loved ones.“
“This petition is a petition for truth and change. I have done what the Government has asked. It has been torturous.
“Now we collectively call on the Government to do what we ask and that is to call a statutory public inquiry into the death of Matthew Leahy.”
The decision to hold a debate on this issue is the responsibility of a new Petitions Committee, so Melanie must now wait until that decision is made.
Melanie finished by saying: “I know for sure, I’m not giving up on this fight.
“I offer my sincere thanks to every single person who signed in support, I thank you all.
“I think it needs to be stressed that the call for a statutory public enquiry into Matts death is not just about Matthew. It’s about every other death/suicide or other incidents that is a direct result of NHS and Private medical provision across the country.
“More importantly it is to take a long hard look at how appalling that provision is and continues to be appalling, despite numerous criticisms ( the same repeated criticisms).
“These criticisms and recommendations are the same over and over again…and the next avoidable death will no doubt feature some, if not all of the same characteristics.
“Whilst mental health is getting a higher and higher profile, particularly in the high-risk group and is actually the biggest killer of that group, (men under 45) the service is not only failing, but it is also deliberately, actively refusing to address any of those failures.
“Matthew is the spearhead of this campaign and most of the answers to how his death occurred and what can be changed, impacts virtually every other avoidable death in these circumstances.
“Understanding what happened to Matthew and putting the changes in place that may have kept Matthew alive, will significantly improve outcomes across the board.”
See full petition text here:-
Melanie continued: “I will ask the petitions committee to consider all the unavoidable deaths that have numerous inquest recommendations; enquiries; petitions; media reports and mourning families when they debate whether or not a statutory public inquiry is something that would or would not contribute to creating the safest healthcare system in the world?
“How can any organisation make such claims without taking a very, long hard look at itself and where it has gone wrong? By refusing a statutory public inquiry in this instance is denial at the very height of government and denial only leads to one result. More deaths with the same failings.
“I will not rest until I understand every aspect of my son’s death; until every failing has been addressed and until the only deaths we have to mourn are the ones that happened DESPITE every possible effort being made by the professionals to keep them alive and begin treatment with positive outcomes.
“We know the problems that exist in the system and we are working hard to address them.”
“For the Government to say they know problems exist in mental health services is a massive understatement and major insult. Why the hell isn’t something more proactive being done about it?
“We know what has to change and we have known for decades. This is not just a scandal, it is conscious massacre of our children, our young people, adults and elderly.
“This is your chance to have a voice and unite with me.”
“An opportunity now exists for all of you to lobby your own MP.
“We now demand a debate in Parliament. This is an opportunity for you to have your say. Lobby your own MP. Tell them your concerns. Tell them your story. We must unite to get services changed. Use Matthews death to make this happen.”
Melanie has written a template letter (https://linktr.ee/MatthewLeahy) and provided you with a link to your MP’s email address.
She would be extremely thankful if you could locate your MP’s email by searching on the link here:
Download the attached letter, then send to your MP and to the Petitions Committee chair at email@example.com
“I am a mother mourning her only child. There is no “giving up” and I will continue to fight for accountability of those who are responsible, by apathy, or by deliberately contributing to these deaths or by actively engaging in cover-ups or standing by and doing nothing. I will never give up.”
Follow Melanie’s journey for truth, justice, change and accountability #matthewscampaign