Deaths of more than 1,000 people "not investigated by NHS"

A new report says that the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people have not been investigated by the NHS.

Live updates

Families ask: after scathing report, why hasn't Chief Executive resigned?

Why hasn't she resigned yet? That is the question troubling families across our region as the Chief Executive of Southern Health, Katrina Percy, remains in her £185,000 post. She heads the Trust that looks after people with mental health issues and learning difficulties - but more than 1,000 deaths were not investigated properly - 722 of those deaths were unexpected. Chris and Stacey link to our series of reports.


Official report into more than 1000 deaths is expected today

The report followed the death of Connor Sparrowhawk Credit: ITV

A report on the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is expected to be officially published today - and it will give details about the unexpected deaths of more than 1000 people.

The report, commissioned by NHS England, was sparked by the death of Connor Sparrowhawk from Oxfordshire. The teenager drowned in a bath at an NHS care unit in Headington. The investigation found a 'failure in leadership'.

Parents from Gosport say Southern Health 'failed their son'

"They ignored him and they ignored us". That's the claim tonight from the parents of a man who they believe was failed by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Mark O'Shaugnessy told health professionals he wanted to kill himself and hurt his mother. Instead of being admitted to a psychiatric ward, he was allowed to return home where he committed suicide.

His mother Julie spoke out following yesterday's revelation that the Trust has failed to investigate hundreds of unexpected deaths.

The report was ordered following the death of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk. He had epilepsy, and drowned in a bath at a hospital run by Southern Health in Oxford. Richard Jones reports

Southern Health Trust reassures patients following revelations

Today care homes run by Southern Health Trust were reassuring patients and clients.

ITV Meridian joined a group in Oxfordshire, where yesterday's revelations were being explained.

Our reporter Mel Bloor was there as people shared their concerns.

"There has been a lot of publicity in recent days, based on a leaked draft report into the way that we respond after the death of people who have been in contact with our staff.

"Normally we would not comment on leaked reports but the numbers being quoted are so misleading that they are likely to generate real anxiety amongst our patients. It is important to stress that the report does not show higher than expected numbers of deaths.

"Sadly, sometimes we get things wrong - both in the way that patients are cared for, and the way we deal with complaints - and we would never seek to deny that. We know that it is deeply upsetting for people when this happens, and if patients or their carers are unhappy we would always ask that they come and talk to us so that we can try to put things right and learn lessons."

– Dr Chris Gordon, Chief Operating Officer from Southern Health

Parents of Gosport man who committed suicide criticise health trust

Mark O'Shaughnessy had told health professionals that he wanted to kill himself Credit: ITV Meridian

The parents of a man from Gosport who committed suicide say the NHS could have done more to prevent his death.

It comes a day after Southern Healthcare Foundation Trust was criticised in parliament for supposedly failing to investigate more than a thousand unexpected deaths.

Mark O'Shaughnessy had told health professionals that he wanted to kill himself. Instead of being admitted to a psychiatric ward he was allowed to return home.

ITV Meridian spoke to his mother, Julie.

Southern Healthcare NHS Trust issues statement Credit: ITV Meridian


Statement from Chief Exec of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Statement from Katrina Percy, Chief Executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust:

Does Ms Percy feel that, considering the comments of Jeremy Hunt - "The Government is profoundly shocked by the findings of the report which are totally unacceptable" - she should resign as Chief Executive?

Do other senior members of the Trust feel they should 'step down' over the comments by Mr Hunt of "a lack of leadership"?

“It is my job and that of the Board to continue to lead on the comprehensive programme of improvements which we have been making over the last 18 months. We owe it to the people we support to make these improvements and it is this that we are focussed on.”

_Does Ms Percy and the Trust feel they have led down the most vulnerable members of our society?_

“We apologise to anybody who feels let down by any aspect of our service. The safety and welfare of the people we support is of utmost importance and we take seriously any part of service which has not met the high standards we expect. We have accepted that our processes have not always been as good as they need to be and are committed to improving them.

What does she say to the families of the 1,454 people who have died unexpectedly between April 2011 and March 2015?

“I say that we have already made significant improvements to the way we report and investigate unexpected deaths, and are working extremely hard to encourage other organisations to do the same.

The full report - not the leaked one - will be released before Christmas. What else is Ms Percy and the Trust expecting from it?

“It is not appropriate to speculate on the contents of an unfinished document. We will provide a full statement on the final report once it has been published.”

Of 1,454 unexpected deaths, 272 were treated as "critical" incidents, but only 13 per cent were treated by the Trust as serious enough to require an investigation. Why?

“Every death in the NHS is an opportunity to learn and improve, and must be taken seriously. However, the numbers being quoted by the media are incorrect and misleading. Half of the 1454 deaths were not unexpected. Of the remaining number over half were clinically unavoidable deaths, for example due to heart attacks or strokes. Furthermore, 90% of cases occurred outside of our hospitals, where we were not the main care provider. Any number of deaths not properly investigated is not acceptable and we have acknowledged that we need to and we are improving.”

  1. Exactly what measures have been taken to put right the failings within the Trust?

“We have taken comprehensive steps to keep improving the way we report, investigate and learn from unexpected deaths in our care:

The launch of a new Procedure for Reporting and Investigating DeathsThe establishment of a central investigation team which is working to improve the quality of investigationsIncreased executive oversight of the entire reporting process.”

Deaths of vulnerable people "shocking and totally unacceptable"

Profoundly shocking. Totally and utterly unacceptable. The words from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over the deaths of 1,200 vulnerable people. All of them unexpected. Many of them preventable. All under the care of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for looking after people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. Fred and Sangeeta link to our full coverage.

Hunt reveals plan to improve quality of care

Three-point plan to improve standards Credit: ITV

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised action over the leaked draft report which looked at more than 10,000 deaths at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust between April 2011 and March 2015 - of which 1,454 were unexpected.

From next June we will publish independently assured, Ofsted-style ratings of the quality of care offered to people with learning disabilities for all 209 Clinical Commission Groups areas.

This will ensure that we shine a spotlight on the variations in care allowing rapid action to be taken when standards fall short. Secondly, NHS England have commissioned the University of Bristol to do an independent study into the mortality rates of people with learning disabilities in NHS care. This will be a very important moment to step back and look at the way we look after that particular highly vulnerable group.

Thirdly, I have committed to the House previously that next year we will publish the number of avoidable deaths by NHS trust.

– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt criticises NHS over deaths of patients

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Credit: ITV

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has blasted the NHS over allegations that health management failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people since 2011 as "totally and utterly unacceptable".

A leaked investigation found a "failure of leadership" at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust meant the deaths of mental health and learning-disability patients were not properly examined, according to reports.

It is totally and utterly unacceptable that, according to the leaked report, only 1% of the unexpected deaths of patients with learning disabilities were investigated.

– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
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