Southern Health NHS Trust gets 'good' rating from Care Quality Commission after decade of problems

AFTER a chequered past, an NHS trust has been praised by health inspectors for its ‘significant progress’.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:00 am

During previous inspections, the Care Quality Commission found Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which provides services in mental health, specialist mental health, learning disabilities and community health across Hampshire, had not always undertaken effective investigations and learned from serious incidents.

As a whole it has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ since its formation in 2011.

In 2015 Southern Health apologised after the Mazars report found it had failed to investigate the deaths of hundreds of people it cared for with learning difficulties or mental health needs.

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Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive of Southern Health

In August, 2016, its chief executive Katrina Percy stepped down after the role ‘became untenable’.

And the trust was fined £2m in March, 2018, for the ‘avoidable deaths' of two vulnerable patients at a heavily-criticised care unit in Oxford.

But today, the health watchdog has announced, after an inspection in October 2019, that the Trust has achieved a ‘Good’ rating.

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Dr Kevin Cleary, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: ‘The trust did face some challenges and there are still some areas of improvement required but there has been a significant improvement in the services at this trust.

‘Staff, patients and the leadership team should be proud of the work done so far. Our inspectors found a really strong patient-centred culture with staff committed to keeping their people safe and encouraging them to be independent. Patients’ needs came first, and staff worked hard to deliver the best possible care with compassion and respect.’

The report shows that over 90 per cent of the trust’s services are now rated as good or outstanding including mental health services at Elmleigh in Havant, now rated ‘Good’, and wards for older people with mental health problems such as Rose Ward and Poppy Ward at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, which are now rated good under the Caring and Responsive domains.

Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive of Southern Health said: ‘I am very encouraged by the report published today. It reflects the significant strides we have made to improve the quality and safety of all services. It also highlights how hard we have worked to ensure we better involve families and carers in the care of our patients and service users.

‘The report has given us a valuable insight into the areas where we still must improve to ensure 100 per cent of our services receive a good rating. This latest inspection is the next step towards Southern Health becoming an outstanding trust.’

The trust employs 5,927 staff who work from over 200 sites, including community hospitals, health centres and inpatient units as well as delivering care in the community. It has 634 inpatient beds.