Health trust ‘must learn from the past’

Katrina Percy, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Trust
Katrina Percy, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Trust
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A MOTHER broke down in tears when she told how she has been waiting four years for an apology from Southern Health NHS Trust over the death of her son.

Emotions ran high as the public attended a meeting of the governors of Southern Health in Havant yesterday.

The meeting was held to discuss further improvements required following a critical report by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission. The CQC demanded the trust improve after it was found the trust had failed to investigate the deaths of hundreds of patients.

One woman, whose 28-year-old son died, asked the governors: ‘I wonder, do you ever apologise?’

‘I wanted an apology for my son four years ago. You could have saved my son, but you didn’t bother and nobody has given me any answers. I feel I have lost him unnecessarily.’

Speaking about compensation for the death of her son, she said: ‘That’s not going to buy my son back.’

Interim chairman Tim Smart expressed his regret on behalf of the trust. He said: ‘I apologise on the behalf of the organisation.’

Governor Peter Bell said the trust must learn and change to make sure these deaths don’t happen again.

He said: ‘You can’t bring back the ones that have suffered.’

‘We have to try to make sure that change does happen and those things don’t happen again.’

Geoff Hill, who has been campaigning for the governors to sack chief executive Katrina Percy, also attended the meeting. He disagreed with a number of points raised in the meeting, including the trust’s use of online survey provider Survey Monkey for public consultation.

He said: ‘I was plagued by junk e-mails from Survey Monkey. If you think it is a secure source, you are mistaken.’

He also said the trust could speed up the complaints process if it responded to them in the required time given.

Trust boss Ms Percy attended the meeting, but only spoke briefly on the trust’s performance.

She said integrating all services which the trust provides is ‘the greatest challenge that we face’.