Mental health trust investigated over deaths of patients in Hampshire

Paige Howitt

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  • The Mazars Report is looking at 1,100 deaths of mental health and learning disability patients
  • Southern Health said it has made improvements
  • NHS England South started investigation following concerns
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A LEAKED report suggests a Hampshire health trust did not investigate deaths of patients it had dealt with thoroughly enough.

Commissioner NHS England South is conducting the Mazars Report into 1,100 deaths of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities, who were helped by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

We fully accept our reporting processes following a patient death have not always been good enough

Spokesman for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

The trust, which runs mental health and learning disabilities services in south-east Hampshire, has admitted it could have done more to investigate the deaths, which took place over a four-year period.

The report, which was leaked to the BBC, goes on to say these deaths were ‘rarely examined’ and the ‘lack of inquiries meant there were missed opportunities to learn from the deaths’.

The BBC said the report also said even when investigations were carried out, they were of poor quality and often extremely late, and lays the blame ‘squarely with senior executives and the governing board’.

A spokesman for Southern Health said: ‘We would not usually comment on a leaked draft report. However, we want to avoid unnecessary anxiety among the people we support, their carers and families as their welfare is our priority.

‘There are serious concerns about the draft report’s interpretation of the evidence.

‘We fully accept our reporting processes following a patient death have not always been good enough.

‘We have taken considerable measures to strengthen our investigation and learning from deaths including increased monitoring and scrutiny.

‘The review has not assessed the quality of care provided by the trust. Instead it looked at the way in which the trust recorded and investigated deaths of people with whom we had one or more contacts in the preceding 12 months.

‘In almost all cases referred to in the report, the trust was not the main provider of care.

‘We would stress the draft report contains no evidence of more deaths than expected in the last four years of people with mental health needs or learning disabilities for the size and age of the population we serve.

‘When the final report is published by NHS England we will review the recommendations and make any further changes necessary to ensure the processes through which we report, investigate and learn from deaths are of the highest possible standard.’

NHS England said it commissioned the report following concerns raised.

A spokesman said: ‘We commissioned an independent report because it was clear there are significant concerns.

‘We are determined that, for the sake of past, present and future patients and their families, all the issues should be forensically examined and any lessons clearly identified and acted upon.

‘The final full independent report will be published as soon as possible, and all the agencies involved stand ready to take appropriate action.’

Anyone affected by the issue should call 0300 003 0025.