Press release

Government orders NHS trust review following Nottingham killings

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins has ordered a special review into Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust which treated Valdo Calocane.

  • Health and Social Care Secretary announces special review of mental health services at NHS trust where Valdo Calocane was treated
  • Pledging to help provide victims’ families with answers, the government asks health regulator to report on Calocane’s care and other Nottinghamshire mental health services
  • Care Quality Commission required to present findings within weeks on patient and public safety, and on the quality of care provided across the trust

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins has ordered a special review into Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, where Valdo Calocane was treated for paranoid schizophrenia.

The review will provide further answers for the families affected by the horrendous and tragic killings of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates in Nottingham in June 2023. It will also focus on wider issues in mental health care provision in Nottinghamshire, including at Highbury Hospital and Rampton Hospital.

Conducted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it will be carried out alongside the Independent Mental Health Homicide Review ordered by NHS England to examine the case of Valdo Calocane.

Any concerns regarding patient safety, quality of care or public safety will be reported by CQC, and it will have access to witness statements and oral evidence regarding health services which were called during the criminal trial.

Acknowledging the importance of identifying any failings as quickly as possible, the Health and Social Care Secretary has asked CQC to present its findings in March 2024. The government will then issue its response to the review in due course.  

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:

My thoughts remain with the families and friends of Barnaby, Grace and Ian, who lost their lives in such a tragic, cruel and barbaric way. 

It is crucial that our mental health services ensure both the care of patients and the safety of the public.

I hope the review provides the families and public with some much-needed answers, and that it helps the trust to improve the standard of mental health care in Nottinghamshire.

Investigations continue at Highbury Hospital in the light of separate recent staff suspensions and a rapid improvement plan is underway, overseen by a new oversight board established to ensure appropriate action is being taken.  

Rampton Hospital - one of 3 high security hospitals across the country and part of the trust - recently received an ‘inadequate’ inspection rating from CQC. The government has asked the regulator to assess the progress made by the hospital to improve standards since that inspection.  

Director of Mental Health at CQC, Chris Dzikiti said:

We will conduct a rapid review into mental health services in Nottingham to understand whether there are any practical actions which can be taken to improve the quality of services and ensure people receive safe and effective care. We will begin this work immediately, aiming to report to the Secretary of State before the end of March.

Separately, last autumn, the government announced the new Health Services Safety Investigations Body will soon commence a national investigation into mental health inpatient care settings, including inpatient deaths and the transition between child and adult mental health services. The recommendations from that far-reaching investigation will help service providers to improve safety standards in mental health facilities across the country.

Claire Murdoch, NHS National Mental Health Director said: 

The killings of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates are devastating, and my thoughts are with their families who have suffered unimaginable loss.

It is essential that there is a thorough review that looks into all agencies involved, and to ensure appropriate action is taken. NHS England is commissioning an independent investigation into the case, and we will cooperate fully with the government’s review of the trust’s mental health services, while continuing to provide the trust with intensive support to protect patient safety in partnership with CQC.

Record funding is going into improving mental health care provision. An extra £2.3 billion is currently being invested a year into the expansion and transformation of mental health services in England, so 2 million more people can access crucial NHS-funded support.

Background information

The special review is enabled through use of section 48 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Published 29 January 2024