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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

In 2016 NHS England published a report into mental health and learning disabilities deaths in Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The report was commissioned by NHS England following the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in July 2013 in a unit in Oxford run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The review looked at the deaths of people with a learning disability or mental health problem at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, including investigations. It highlights the need for a system-wide response. More information, a full version of the report and responses from ourselves and Southern Health can be found here.

In March 2018 the following statement was made by Dr Nick Broughton, the new Chief Executive at Southern Health:

Today I attended Oxford Crown Court relating to the Health and Safety Executive prosecution of Southern Health for two incidents: the death of Teresa Colvin in Hampshire, 2012, and the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in Oxfordshire in 2013. We have pleaded guilty in both cases to the charges and we fully accept the failings. The judge has imposed a £2 million fine upon the Trust.

Since I joined the Trust in November 2017 I have looked closely at what happened to Connor and Teresa and the events that followed. I feel deeply saddened and am truly sorry that we let them down with such devastating consequences. Their deaths were avoidable, entirely preventable and should never have occurred.

Personally, and on behalf of the Trust board, I apologise unreservedly.

Since these sad events there have been significant changes made across our services making them safer. These include a particular focus on reducing risk of ligatures, improving the inpatient environments at our mental health units, better support for staff who want to raise concerns, and working more closely with families and carers. Though these are all positive changes, I am clear that the job of improving quality and safety is never complete and it remains the single highest priority for me and for my colleagues at Southern Health.

Should you have any questions or wish to discuss developments at the Trust further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Nick Broughton
Chief Executive, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Healthwatch Hampshire is pleased that the voice of patients, their families and friends has been heard by our courts, and the pain of people who lose their loved ones has been publicly acknowledged.

We recognise the perseverance of the families over so many years, and we are pleased to have been able to make a very small contribution to support them to hold management to account.

We welcome the approach of the new management of Southern Health, whose Chair and Chief Executive have only recently taken up post and are making changes to the culture and systems to ensure that such failures never happen again.

Christine Holloway
Chair, Healthwatch Hampshire