News / Slider / June 8, 2016

Rebuilding trust after Southern Health failings

In the wake of serious failings which have come to light at Southern Health NHS Trust, Nicola spoke in a Parliamentary Debate to urge the Government to ensure that confidence is restored in the mental health trust and failings like this cannot happen again.

Nicola spoke of how vulnerable patients are concerned following these failings, particularly after the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in 2013 and the finding by the inquiry that neglect at the Trust had contributed to his death. A report commissioned by NHS England discovered that only 272 of the 722 deaths at the Trust over the previous four years were investigated, and the Trust has been issued a Warning Notice by the CQC and told to make improvments. Following this, the Chairman of Southern Health has resigned from the Trust, as has the Governor for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. An interim Chairman, Tim Smart, has now begun work reviewing Leadership.

The new Chairman has been in touch with Nicola, explaining that he has now commissioned an external capability review of the Trust Board which can be expected to report shortly.

Southern Health’s contract to provide learning disability services in Oxfordshire is due to end in December 2017 and will be passed to Oxford Health, of course it is essential that this transition is smooth, staff are adequately trained, and that our mental health services have the backing of patients and their families, many of whom are deeply concerned that the same mistakes will continue to be made.

Nicola raised these issues in the debate, calling on the Minister to ‘break the mould’, provide an independent, verifiable process to ensure it cannot happen again and restore the confidence of vulnerable people. Read the full debate here.

See here for a full and insightful summary of the debate by local disabilities charity, My Life My Choice, who Nicola has worked closely with.

Nicola says: Connor’s family have had a tough fight for justice, and we have all been shocked to learn of the extent of failings at Southern Health. I hope that Southern Health’s apology and admission of serious failure has given them some measure of closure.

After vulnerable groups have spoken out about the fear this scandal has caused them, however, the first priority of the government and southern health going forward must be to restore public trust, especially  with the most vulnerable patients, that they will be safe and secure in NHS care.


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