JEREMY Hunt has warned failings at Southern Health NHS Trust is a ‘broader issue’ and not enough is being done in the NHS to investigate ‘unexpected’ deaths.
The warning comes after Fareham MP Suella Fernandes pressed the health secretary on progress being made with the new inquiry into the Hampshire trust.
We are not as good as we need to be at investigating unexpected mortality in the NHS and this was perhaps an extreme example, but it’s a much more widespread problem – it’s a cultural change that we’re determined to do something about.Health secretary Jeremy Hunt
As reported, the trust has admitted it could have done more to investigate the deaths of 1,100 people with mental health problems and learning disabilities over a four year period after a leaked report exposed flaws in the way they were cared for.
The dossier goes on to say the deaths were ‘rarely examined’ and the ‘lack of inquiries meant there were missed opportunities to learn from the deaths’.
Addressing Mr Hunt in the House of Commons yesterday during Health Questions, Ms Fernandes said: ‘Whilst not in special measures, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s performance was criticised in an independent report, particularly in relation to poor investigation of deaths of people with learning disabilities and mental illness.
‘I welcome the secretary of state’s rapid action and announcement of a CQC inquiry – can he update the House on progress of that inquiry, and when it expects to report?’
But Mr Hunt replied by saying: ‘Well, the inquiry has only just started, but I would like to thank her for her interest in this, and I think the important conclusion that we have drawn from what happened at Southern Health is that this is an issue that goes much more broadly than one Trust.
‘We are not as good as we need to be at investigating unexpected mortality in the NHS and this was perhaps an extreme example, but it’s a much more widespread problem – it’s a cultural change that we’re determined to do something about.’