The BBC has today reported that Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is continuing to put patients at risk.
Southern Health failed to adopt safe bathing guidelines for two-and-a-half years after Connor Sparrowhawk died following an epileptic seizure in 2013. His unsupervised death led to a report into hundreds of unexplained deaths.
(Photo of: Connor Sparrowhawk)
Trust chairman Mike Petter resigned on Thursday ahead of the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s report. He said he was stepping down “to allow new board leadership to take forward the improvements”.
The CQC’s inspection in January was ordered after an investigation looked at all deaths at the trust between April 2011 and March 2015 and found hundreds had not been investigated properly.
Now the watchdog has said the trust has still not done enough to reduce “environmental risks” and condemned a low roof at a Winchester site that patients could climb onto and ligature points across its sites.
The report revealed there had been eight occasions where patients had climbed onto the roof between 2010 and 2015, as well as two in February – one of which involved a patient leaving the ward and then leaving the country.
Health service regulator NHS Improvement has said it would impose management changes at the trust if progress was not made to address the CQC’s concerns.
“I am concerned that the leadership of this trust shows little evidence of being proactive in identifying risk to the people it cares or of taking action to address that risk.”
He added that a new process to monitor serious incidents and deaths had been introduced by the trust in December, but it was too early to gauge its impact.
A leaked 2012 review found staff did not feel Slade House, an in-patient unit for people with learning difficulties in Oxford, was safe and that it was dirty and difficult to track the care of patients at the unit.
An inquest jury found in October that neglect contributed to Connor’s death at the unit.
Dr Sara Ryan, his mother, described seeing the 2012 report as “shocking and harrowing” and said she would be asking police to open an investigation.
She said: “It is a national scandal. It shows that certain people in our society aren’t given the same healthcare treatment as other people.
“How much more failing do we have to have evidence for before the chief executive and the rest of the board are removed.”
Trust Chief Executive Katrina Percy said the CQC’s findings sent “a clear message to the leadership… that more improvements must be delivered and as rapidly as possible”.
She added: “We will continue to share regular updates on progress publicly to demonstrate improvement and help re-build trust in our services.”
Southern Health provides services in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Should you have any concerns regarding a patient, your family member or friend currently staying in or receiving treatment from mental health or learning disability services please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated mental health law and capacity team for further advice.
We also work closely with our specialist solicitors who deal with bringing claims against state authorities for failings within the prison service, police custody and psychiatric care, and to help families during inquest proceedings concerning the loss of a loved one.
Please contact a member of our team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further advice.