NHS Improvement to appoint new Southern director


NHS Improvement has exercised its powers to impose management changes at Southern Health.

NHS Improvement, who warned Southern three weeks ago that they may have to make management changes, formally notified the trust on Friday that they intend to appoint Tim Smart, the former CEO of King’s College Hospital FT, as the new Southern chair.

Smart will lead a review into the adequacy of the trust’s current leadership.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: “It is clear that dramatic change is needed urgently at Southern Health. Our action today in proposing the appointment of Tim Smart – a very experienced NHS leader – at the top of the organisation will speed up this improvement.”

Mike Petter, who resigned as chair, said: “The Trust has recently undergone a significant amount of scrutiny in some service areas and given the challenges it faces I feel it is appropriate for me to allow new Board leadership to take forward the improvements. I have been involved in Southern Health since the Trust was formed in 2011 as a Non-Executive Director and since August 2015 as Chairman. It is with great sadness that I now leave the organisation. I offer my support and best wishes to all our staff whose dedication and commitment I am continuously impressed by.” 

NHS Improvement now have to wait for a response from Southern before formal confirmation of the appointment, which will probably happen next week.


Vulnerable patients are still at risk at Southern Health trust, the latest CQC inspection has found.

The January 2016 inspection, which led to the CQC issuing a warning notice and NHS Improvement threatening to impose management changes at the trust if matters do not improve, found that the trust is still failing to implement recommendations from the Mazars report after it was found that the trust investigated just 13% of the deaths of mental health and learning disability patients.

The report said that the trust’s governance was still failing to properly manage risk.

Dr Paul Lelliott, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “We found that in spite of the best efforts of the staff, the key risks and actions to address them were not driving the senior leadership or board agenda.

“It is clear that the trust had still missed opportunities to learn from adverse incidents and to take action to reduce the chance of similar events happening in the future.”

The trust still has no robust mechanisms in place for investigating and learning from patient deaths, or for responding to concerns about patient safety raised by patients, their carers, staff or the CQC.

For example, although patients failing to attend appointments was identified as cause for concern, there was no robust mechanism for what community healthcare staff should do to report a patient missing an appointment.

The CQC has now announced that it is investigating all acute, community and mental health trusts for how well they learn from patient deaths.

The CQC also found that a number of safety concerns about the trust’s physical environment, such as ligature points at Evenlode, Oxfordshire and Kingsley inpatient wards at Melbury Lodge, had not been addressed despite inspectors raising the issue on three previous occasions.

(Image: Ravenswood House, Fareham. c. Peter Facey)


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