Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust makes changes after poor CQC report - but staff shortages still a 'key issue'

THE boss of an NHS trust has admitted there is 'more learning to do' after a concerning inspection report.

Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:14 pm

In February this year, the Care Quality Commission rated Southern Health NHS Foudnation Trust as 'requires improvement' after noting issues with an 'unsafe environment' in acute mental health wards.

Today the trust's chief executive Ron Shields presented the improvements made to a Hampshire County Council select committee.

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Ron Shields, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Issues that were previously highlighted included staff shortages, unclear discharge pathways and breaches of same-sex ward regulations.

Mr Shields said: 'We've been balancing the impact of Covid-19 while trying to keep all our wards operational. That is why we had some privacy breaches around same-sex wards but this has now been rectified.

'We have covered plenty of issues and made sufficient progress already, but have to remain vigilant.

'We understand all the issues highlighted in the CQC report and are taking steps to resolve them.'

Mr Shields was pressed by councillors about ongoing staffing issues, conceding that there is still a shortage across the trust.

However, he insisted that all acute wards have enough 'suitably skilled and experienced staff' to get by.

'Staffing is the key issue,' he said. 'In some areas, staffing was at its absolute minimum level, and remains the biggest challenge we currently have.'

Councillors were pleased by the progress being made by Southern Health, and urged Mr Shields to keep that momentum going.

Vice-chairman, Councillor Ann Briggs, said: 'It's good to see the progress being made.'

Labour member for Basingstoke Central, Cllr Kim Taylor, added: 'It's good to see a number of things already being resolved.'