latest health care news

01.07.16

Oxford Health FT to take over Southern Health’s learning disability services

The troubled Southern Health trust is to give up control of its learning disability services, the trust’s interim chair has said.

Tim Smart published a summary of his review of Southern Health services and announced that he is making arrangements to transfer responsibility for Southern Health’s learning disability services to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Smart said that Katrina Percy, the CEO of Southern Health, would stay in place despite calls from Luciana Berger, until recently the shadow minister for mental health, and Suella Fernandes, MP for Fareham, for her to resign.

However, he said Percy had been “too operationally focused” and would shift her focus to accelerating the delivery of the future strategy of the trust, while the executive team would be restructured.

Southern Health has faced criticism since the death of 18-year-old patient Connor Sparrowhawk in 2013, which led to an investigation that found that over 1,000 unexpected patient deaths at the trust had not been investigated.

Last month, Southern Health admitted responsibility for Sparrowhawk’s death and promised to pay £80,000 compensation to his family and publish a statement explaining the failures that led to his death.

Smart said that although he was satisfied that there had been no shortcomings on the part of individual board members, the board had not spent enough time “creating an integrated, patient focused, operationally efficient culture” and the executive team was too stretched following Southern’s acquisition of the Ridgeway Partnership.

He will also establish a steering group to review how Southern Health implements its vision for the future and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP, as well as looking at how services are organised.

“Based on my experience and the evidence presented I am confident that these recommendations will see an improvement in the running of the trust and most importantly in the care provided to patients,” said Smart. “We must acknowledge, however, the failures that have occurred in the past and I again unreservedly apologise for this.”

(Image c. Peter Facey)

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