THE chairwoman of the public inquiry examining the deaths of almost 2,000 mental health patients in Essex is inviting applications from core participants.

The inquiry will investigate the deaths of people who were receiving mental health inpatient care in Essex between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2023.

This will include people who died within three months of discharge, and those who died as inpatients receiving NHS-funded care in the independent sector.

Baroness Kate Lampard CBE, who is chairing the public inquiry, opened the application process for core participant status on Monday.

A core participant is a person, an organisation or other entity with a significant interest in the inquiry.

Those who are designated core participant status enjoy participatory rights, including being able to suggest lines of questioning for witnesses, and making opening or closing statements.

They may also receive disclosure of evidence.

Baroness Lampard is inviting applications from those with a significant interest in the matters being investigated, such as Essex-based families of mental health inpatients who have died, current and former mental health staff, and organisations providing inpatient services.

She said she is “committed to carrying out thorough investigations which are appropriately focused and proportionate”.

The terms of reference of the Lampard Inquiry were published on April 10 this year.

The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry was established in 2021 but was last year given statutory footing – which means it has legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.

The initial phase for applications for core participant status will be open from Monday April 22 until midnight on Monday May 20.

Applications to become a core participant can be made by completing the Application to be Designated a Core Participant Form and sending it to for the attention of the solicitor to the inquiry.

To find the form, see