Watchdog brought in to resolve issues at Southern Health in light of damning report

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes
Kerry Chambers  (150302-3066)

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A WATCHDOG has been drafted in to give ‘expert support’ to Southern Health NHS Trust after a report exposed flaws in the way it cared for vulnerable patients.

Health regulator Monitor has pledged to help the trust improve its reporting and investigations into deaths.

The NHS should take every opportunity to learn from any mistakes that happen when caring for people, to ensure that they are never repeated again.

Monitor regional director Claudia Griffith

It comes after a report published by NHS England found the trust had failed to properly investigate hundreds of deaths over a four-year period.

When investigating, the trust also failed to engage properly with families, particularly important when the individuals concerned had a learning disability and/or mental illness and may have been less able to speak up for themselves as families are often closely involved with their care.

Monitor says it has taken regulatory action and agreed a number of steps with the trust to ensure the issues are addressed as quickly as possible.

Monitor will appoint an ‘improvement director’ for the trust, who will use their expertise to support and challenge the trust as it fixes its problems. Monitor regional director Claudia Griffith said: ‘The NHS should take every opportunity to learn from any mistakes that happen when caring for people, to ensure that they are never repeated again.

‘We have taken action to ensure that Southern Health improves the way it investigates deaths among people with a learning disability and/or those who are experiencing mental illness.

‘However, it’s clear that more work is needed across the NHS to identify best practice for reporting and investigating deaths among people with a learning disability and/or mental illness.’

The move comes ahead of a private meeting of Hampshire’s MPs with Southern Health bosses on Monday in parliament over steps being taken to improve care.

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, who will chair the discussion, has pushed for progress being made on a new review into the trust with health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Monitor will work with the Care Quality Commission to assess how deaths among people with a learning disability and mental illness are investigated and what further action is needed.