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Southern trains & RMT union talks break down over changes to guard role on trains

Train conductors on strike earlier this week

Today's talks to avert further strike action by conductors on Southern trains who belong to the RMT union have broken down.

Conductors walked out on two days this week over plans to change the guard role - and to run driver only trains.

Steve Hedley, the Assistant General Secretary, of the RMT union told ITV Meridian that the managers of Southern had just walked out of the negotiations. He was interviewed by ITV Meridian Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse.

RMT union talks with Southern trains have broken down

Talks aimed at settling the guards dispute at Southern trains broke down a short time ago with the RMT union saying it would "escalate the dispute."

More strike days are expected to be called when the union executive meets next week.

The union say managers "stormed out of the talks" after failing to reach agreement.

The row centres on changes to the role of the guard.


Governor explains why he quit Southern Health

A governor at a scandal-hit NHS trust where a teenager drowned in a bath resigned on Friday because his council has achieved "nothing at all".

In his resignation letter Mark Aspinall, a governor at Southern Health, accused colleagues of being "apathetic" and "intransigent", and said the Trust's council was "weak or unable to act".

He has spoken to ITV News Meridian about why he has stepped down and how the Trust have got it so wrong.

'It's not for me to say that' Health Secretary won't be drawn on whether Southern Health Chief should go

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV Meridian that it was not for him to say whether the Chief Executive of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Katrina Percy should step down.

The trust was roundly criticised for some of its failings in a Care Quality Commission report published today. Following an inspection in January the CQC found that the Trust had still not done enough to protect those under its care. The visit was sparked by revelations that the trust had not reported properly or investigated properly the unexpected deaths of hundreds of people in its care across the south.

The Health Secretary said that the CQC had done an independent report, and he was sure that Southern Health would act on that and that lessons would be learned. At the same time the Health Secretary said that it was important to recognise that there were staff that were working hard and doing a good job at Southern Health.

The Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has 250,000 patients and employs 9000 staff at more than 200 buildings.

The Department of Health has demanded that the trust makes improvements.

Department of Health demands Southern improvements

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We know that over a period of several years, too many patients were shamefully let down by the standards of care provided at Southern Health.

"Since this inspection, the trust has developed an action plan and is working with regulators to improve safety.

"However we are clear that standards must improve dramatically — if they do not, we won't hesitate to take further action.”

  1. National

Southern Health governor's resignation criticises Trust

Connor Sparrowhawk died after having an epileptic seizure in the bath Credit: JusticeforLB/PA Wire

A governor at a scandal-hit NHS trust where a teenager drowned in a bath resigned on Friday because his council has achieved "nothing at all".

Mark Aspinall, a governor at Southern Health, accused colleagues of being "apathetic" and "intransigent", and said the Trust's council was "weak or unable to act".

Mr Aspinall, whose resignation follows chairman Mike Petter's resignation, described himself as "hamstrung" by the "constant barrage of critical news" hitting the Trust.

"I don't feel that the Council has achieved anything at all in the period that I have been a member", he wrote.

"I had hoped that we would be able to work well together to deliver for our patients and communities but sadly, there is more drum-banging, soap-boxing and agenda pushing taking place than anything else".


Southern Health Chief Katrina Percy: CQC's report 'sends a clear message to the trust's leadership'

Southern Health Chief Executive Katrina Percy at a public meeting earlier this year

The Chief Executive of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Katrina Percy, issued the following statement in response to a critical report from the Care Quality Commission after an inspection of her organisation's services and care provision.

“Today's CQC report sends a clear message to the leadership of the Trust that more improvements must be delivered and as rapidly as possible. I want to reassure our patients, their families and carers that I am absolutely focused on addressing the CQC's concerns and supporting our staff to provide the best care possible.

As well as rightly highlighting areas of concern, I am pleased that the CQC recognises our staff's caring attitude to patients and the progress made in a number of units, including one of our community mental health teams our mental health inpatient units and our Child and Adolescent Mental Health services. This progress reflects the unwavering dedication of our staff, and my job is to make sure these improvements are now carried through consistently across all our services.

We fully accept that until we address all these concerns and our new reporting and investigating procedures introduced in December 2015 are completely effective, we will remain, rightly, under intense scrutiny. We will continue to share regular updates on progress publicly to demonstrate improvement and help re-build trust in our services.”

Labour responds to 'shocking' Southern Health report

Labour's Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger, says a CQC report into Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust makes for 'really shocking reading'.

Luciana Berger MP Credit: PA

Her response comes after an inspection found the Trust had not made the required improvements since its failings were revealed in December.

Concerns were first raised about Southern Health after the death of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at a care home in Oxford in 2013.

Two years after the tragic death of Connor Sparrowhawk and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is still not adequately protecting the thousands of people in its care.

For these failings to be allowed to continue is unacceptable. The lack of accountability, at the highest levels of the Trust, is beyond the pale. How many more people need to be let down for action to be taken? For patients and their families, this latest action plan is simply too little too late. They need to see robust action and real accountability and they need to see it now.

– Luciana Berger MP
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