Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust accused of being 'passive' after investigation sparked by deaths

HEALTHCARE bosses have been accused of taking a passive approach following patient deaths in their care.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:55 am

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has published an action plan following the deaths of five patients between 2011 and 2015, which sparked a review by NHS England, led by Nigel Pascoe QC.

His report highlighted failings in how the trust dealt with the families involved and how their complaints were handled.Victims of the scandal included 28-year-old Robert Small, of Fareham – who died in 2012 – and 18-year-old Edward Hartley, of Wickham, who died in 2014.

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Dr Maureen Rickman, from New Milton, is one of the bereaved family members campaigning for an investigation into deaths under the care of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: David George

At a health and social care select committee meeting in Winchester this week, politicians at Hampshire County Council claimed the NHS trust has not been proactive in solving its issues.

Labour councillor for Basingstoke Central, Cllr Kim Taylor, said: 'I get the sense that while things like training may be happening, it's not being properly monitored.

'It seems like a very passive approach is being taken, with the trust reacting to things after they've happened instead of being proactive in seeking out issues.

'To be honest, I expected to see a fair bit more in the action plan.'

The action plan drew criticism from bereaved families, who said the proposals did nothing to address the actual deaths that took place or learn practical lessons from them that would benefit current patients.

Ron Shields, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, responded by explaining how some action has already been taken.

He said: 'This isn't a passive approach at all - we have independent bodies evaluating whether or not we do a good job of this.

'We have revisited a number of issues, such as our approach when it comes to complaints, but the work we do with families is personal and also different every time.

'The trust has already responded to some of the things in the report, because we have been working on this since 2017. There are other recommendations, like updating our complaints policy, which will be done in the short-term.

'We must always be learning and ensuring that the experience of all who use our service is the very best it can be. As part of that, Healthwatch Hampshire will be fully involved in everything we do, and their work will be published publicly.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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