Health and safety boss at Southern Health ‘raised concerns four years ago’

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A FORMER health and safety boss at an NHS trust criticised for failing to investigate deaths has said he raised concerns four years ago.

Mike Holder, a chartered health and safety practitioner, worked at Southern Health, which has been heavily criticised in a report.

Those issues in no way relate to the recently published independent review of deaths

Katrina Percy

Mr Holder told the BBC he was interim head of health and safety in November 2011.

‘It was under-resourced, they didn’t see how health and safety would apply to caring for the people in their care.’ he told the broadcaster.

‘I think their record keeping in general was very, very haphazard.

‘I think there are missed opportunities and as a result of those missed opportunities, someone has lost their life.

‘It’s very, very disappointing, I feel for the families and it is something that should just not have happened.’

A report by accountancy firm Mazars found the trust failed to investigate deaths of more than 1,000 people with learning or mental health disabilities.

Health regulator Monitor launched an action plan last month which will include spot checks by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust has accepted the Mazars report’s recommendations in full.

Katrina Percy, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘In a large NHS organisation that delivers complex care there will always be areas in which we can improve.

‘We are constantly striving to find ways to do things better and challenging ourselves to improve services across the whole organisation, as in any NHS Trust.

‘We actively encourage staff across the Trust to report any concerns through local management, senior leadership, or the board and we will act on them. We never want a member of staff to ignore a potential problem.

‘We have an effective feedback system in place through which issues can be reported, and our Speak Up service enables staff to raise concerns confidentially.

‘We welcome and take seriously any concerns highlighted by our staff and anyone who relies on the services we provide.

‘All of the issues raised in the memorandum sent more than four years ago were looked into and addressed.

‘Those issues in no way relate to the recently published independent review of deaths of people with learning disabilities and mental health needs in contact with Southern Health at least once in the previous year.’