Press release

Southern Health to get expert help to improve investigations into deaths

Monitor is to take regulatory action at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust will receive expert support to improve the way it investigates and reports deaths at the trust, particularly among people with a learning disability and/or those who are experiencing mental illness.

After considering a report by Mazars on Southern Health, which was published in December 2015, the health regulator Monitor has stepped in to ensure the trust improves its reporting and investigations into deaths.

When investigating, the trust also failed to engage properly with families. This is particularly important when the individuals concerned had a learning disability and/or mental illness and may have been less able to speak up for themselves, because families are often closely involved with their care and may have important knowledge to support investigations.

Monitor has taken regulatory action and agreed a number of steps with the trust to ensure these issues are addressed as quickly as possible.

The trust has agreed to implement the recommendations of Mazars’ report, and to get expert assurance on how well it plans and carries out those improvements. Monitor will appoint an Improvement Director for the trust, who will use their expertise to support and challenge the trust as it fixes its problems.

Claudia Griffith, Regional Director for Monitor, said:

The NHS should take every opportunity to learn from any mistakes that happen when caring for people, to ensure that they are never repeated again.

We have taken action to ensure that Southern Health improves the way it investigates deaths among people with a learning disability and/or those who are experiencing mental illness.

However, it is also clear that more work is needed across the NHS to identify and spread best practice for reporting and investigating deaths among people with a learning disability and/or mental illness.

Monitor will work closely with the Care Quality Commission to assess how deaths among people with a learning disability and/or mental illness are investigated and what further action is needed across the NHS and by the trust.

Published 12 January 2016