Audit finds Southern Health made ‘significant improvements’ since damning Mazars report

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AN AUDIT has found a once-troubled health organisation has made ‘significant improvements’.

The independent investigation into Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust found they had made progress following the 2015 Mazars report.

Improving quality is our top priority so I feel encouraged by these findings which suggest we are making genuine progress.

Dr Nick Broughton

As previously reported in The News, the report was an independent review of deaths of people with a learning disability or mental health problem under the care of the Trust between 2011 and 2015.

In the three years since the report, the audit found the culture within Southern Health, which provides community care in Gosport, Havant and Fareham, had changed and improvements were likely to continue.

The audit said: ‘The Trust has made significant improvements in all of the areas recommended in the Mazars report.

‘We believe the Trust has changed the culture within the organisation to the point that continual improvement is very likely and the areas that have not been fully impacting will do so over time.’

The auditors praised the appointment of a dedicated family liaison officer to support bereaved families and noted the positive impact this had made.

Since the Mazars report was published, Southern Health has appointed a new chief executive and new chairman.

Former chief executive Katrina Percy stepped down in 2016 after the role ‘became untenable’. This followed the resignation of former chairman Mike Petter.

The two roles have been taken up by Dr Nick Broughton and Lynne Hunt.

Chief executive Dr Broughton said: ‘Improving quality is our top priority so I feel encouraged by these findings which suggest we are making genuine progress.

‘We recognise there is more to do and there will be challenges ahead, but we will not stop working to create the culture of constant learning and improvement our patients and their families deserve.’

The audit involved a detailed assessment of Southern Health’s actions to see if changes had been made and whether they were embedded in practice.

It also highlighted areas for improvement, for example ensuring investigations were of a consistently high quality.

Chairman Lynne Hunt said: ‘The Mazars report was a watershed moment for Southern Health and triggered wide-ranging changes which are still continuing to this day. We still have much to do.

‘The findings give the board assurance and additional confidence that our new approach is making a difference.’