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Extra mental-health staff drafted in to help Grenfell survivors cope over Christmas

Felicity Collier reports as health professionals due to attend St Paul's memorial service

EXTRA mental-health staff will be on hand to help survivors and families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire to cope over Christmas, the local NHS trust announced yesterday.

Health professionals will attend tomorrow’s memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral marking six months since the disaster in west London that killed 71 people.

Central & North West London NHS Trust has seen more than 1,800 people since June 14. More than half are adults identified as being in “urgent need” of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Local GPs have also seen 956 patients for other concerns to do with wellbeing and physical health and about a quarter have been screened for PTSD.

Trust chief operating officer Robyn Doran said: “It’s really important that we have a memorial service, but it will trigger things for people.

“And not all families have had the funerals yet, so that will also bring up things. It’s really important we’re there.”

Clarrie Mendy, whose cousin Mary Mendy died with her artist daughter Khadija Saye, said: “It’s just a nightmare and it seems to be getting darker every day.

“I don’t know any bereaved family that’s been able to get on with their life. They never will, never.”

A petition was delivered to Downing Street yesterday calling for an overhaul of the public inquiry, declaring that it would be a “tragedy” if survivors and bereaved families’ concerns were ignored.

Sandra Ruiz, Karim Mussilhy and a teenage girl, who all lost loved ones in the blaze, joined former resident Nicholas Burton to deliver the 16,000-signature document.

The petition is asking for a panel from a diverse range of backgrounds to represent the culturally diverse and working class North Kensington area to sit alongside Sir Martin Moore-Bick at the public inquiry.

PM Theresa May has powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to opt for a panel-led inquiry rather than relying on one chairman.

The petition was delivered while the inquiry’s second day’s procedural hearings were being held. It was decided that a first phase of the inquiry will look into what happened on June 14, while a second phase will explore why and how the fire spread.

Criminal offences of manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, breaches of fire safety legislation and misconduct in public office will all be considered by the Metropolitan Police.

Jeremy Johnson QC confirmed that 383 companies have been identified in connection to the construction or refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

A final report is not due until autumn 2018.

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