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  1. ITV Report

Scandal-hit Southern Health NHS Trust rated 'good' in latest inspection

The scandal-hit NHS Trust, Southern Health, has been rated 'good' overall in the latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Two years ago, the Trust was fined £2 million for failing to prevent the deaths of two patients.

Connor Sparrowhawk drowned after suffering an epileptic seizure at Slade House in Oxfordshire in 2013 and Teresa Colvin died in Southampton in 2012.

It was Connor's death which prompted a huge investigation into hundreds of unexplained deaths which concluded that they were not properly investigated.

Since 2013, the Trust has faced a string of damning reports into its leadership and patient safety.

Connor Sparrowhawk died after suffering an epileptic seizure in 2013.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest providers of mental health, specialist mental health, learning disabilities and community health services in the UK.

It employs 5,927 staff who work across more than 200 sites, including community hospitals, health centres and inpatient units as well as delivering care in the community.

Inspectors from the CQC visited the Trust in October 2019 to look into four core services:

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units (PICU's)
  • Child and adolescent mental health wards
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems
  • Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety
Teresa Colvin died in Southampton in 2012.

The CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to find out if the Trust is well-led.

The Trust is now rated as 'good' for being safe, caring, responsive to people's needs and well-led.

It has been rated as 'requires improvement' for being effective.

At Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust our inspectors found a really strong patient-centred culture with staff committed to keeping their people safe and encouraging them to be independent. Patients' needs came first, and staff worked hard to deliver the best possible care with compassion and respect.

"Inspectors saw many areas of good practice, with care delivered by compassionate and knowledgeable staff. Several teams led by example with a continuous focus on quality improvement.

"The trust did face some challenges and there are still some areas of improvement required but there has been a significant improvement in the services at this trust. Staff, patients and the leadership team should be proud of the work done so far. We will continue to monitor the trust and our inspectors will look to return to check on its progress."

– Dr Kevin Cleary, CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals

"I think the organisation is stronger, it's delivering better care. We have a better engaged workforce and our patients and service users are very much at the centre of what we do and delivering great care to them is the organisations absolute priority.

"So all in all, I think we are a better organisation than we were. Are we the organisation we want to be? We're not, because we want to be an outstanding organisation and today's report is an important milestone and is a demonstration to everyone with an interest in Southern Health that we have improved and continue to improve and will ultimately become that organisation that everyone wants us to be."

– Nick Broughton, Chief Executive, Southern Health NHS Trust

The CQC found that the board had taken "significant steps to improve the culture across the trust and staff felt valued".

Inspectors found mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety provided safe care.

In wards for older people with mental health problems, inspectors found staff treated patients with compassion and kindness.

Inspectors also found staff treated young people with compassion and kindness and encouraged and supported them to attend the onsite schools and study for qualifications.