The departure of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Officer Katrina Percy this week heralds fresh leadership of an organisation that was subject to criticism in a Report commissioned by NHS England following the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in July 2013 in a unit in Oxford run by the Trust.
The December 2015 Report reviewed investigations into the deaths of patients with learning disabilities and found that many investigations were of poor quality and took too long to complete, there was a lack of leadership, focus and sufficient time spent in the Trust on carefully reporting and investigating deaths, there was a lack of family involvement in investigations after a death and opportunities for the Trust to learn and improve were missed.
This was followed by a Care Quality Commission report published on 29 April 2016 which concluded that the Trust was still not doing enough to protect those in its care.
Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals and Lead for Mental Health, said:
“Since the failings identified in the Mazars report, this Trust has, rightly, been under intense scrutiny. In December 2015 it introduced a new system for reporting and investigating incidents, including deaths. It is too early to gauge the effectiveness of the new process. However, our inspectors found that the quality of the incident reports and initial management assessments, conducted both before and after the introduction of the new procedures, varied considerably.”
“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.”
“On 30 June Tim Smart announced the outcome of his review into Southern Health. I was pleased to have his endorsement and support to carry on in my role as Chief Executive and I have been humbled by the overwhelming support from staff and other colleagues.”
“Since then I have reflected on the effect the ongoing personal media attention has had on staff and patients and have come to the conclusion that this has made my role untenable. I have therefore come to the difficult decision to step down from my role as Chief Executive after nine years. I am delighted to be taking on an alternative role, providing strategic advice to local GP leaders as they work with others to transform the way in which health services are delivered across Hampshire, and I feel that now is the right time to take on that new challenge. I know, and understand, that many will say I should have stepped down sooner given the very public concerns which have been raised in the past months. I stayed on as I firmly believed it was my responsibility to oversee the necessary improvements and to continue the ground breaking work we have begun with GPs to transform care for our patients.”
“I would like to thank all of our staff for their unstinting daily support and dedication to delivering the best possible care for all those we look after. I wish everyone at the Trust, and everyone who has supported it, especially over the past year, all the best.”