Suella Braverman has continued her campaign to push for improvements at Southern Health by raising the matter directly with Prime Minister Theresa May.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Suella publicly drew Theresa May’s attention to the systemic problems facing mental health provision at the local NHS Trust.
The Fareham MP invoked the examples of two of her constituents, Robert Small and David West, who tragically took their own lives whilst suffering from mental health problems under the care of Southern Health.
Significant challenges remain to improving provisions of care Southern Health. Notwithstanding inadequacies in providing for highly vulnerable mental health patients in the recent past, the Trust has suffered from a lack of health and social care support available within the community, as well as a continued use of acute mental health services in out-of-area beds, costing £12 million.
During her response, the Prime Minister pledged that action will be taken to prevent similar incidents happening in the future and informed politicians about the Government’s plan to increase the workforce dealing with mental health problems.
Suella Braverman MP commented,
“For too long patients and their families in Fareham and Hampshire have been let down by the systemic problems that have bedevilled Southern Health. It is incumbent on us in Parliament to push for the essential changes that are needed and we owe it to the families of Robert and David to ensure that tragic incidents such as theirs are not repeated.
"I was pleased that the Prime Minister reassured me that action will be taken, and that more resources are being directed towards mental health provision. However, I will not stop my campaign to push for improvements at Southern Health until they have been comprehensively delivered.”
Since becoming the MP for Fareham in 2015, Suella has been working with the families of those affected by the failings at Southern Health to push for improvements and system-wide changes in the NHS Trust. Suella has continuously raised the issue in Parliament, holding a debate in Westminster Hall in 2016 to bring the matter to wider attention and attended the all-party parliamentary group on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, where she took a leading role on health issues. More recently Suella directly lobbied other Hampshire MPs to support her campaign - a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health, signed by Suella and four other local MPs outlined seven core areas for improvement. Southern Health since committed to a programme of transformational change.
The Trust has said that whilst changes are now happening, and are beginning to make an impact, it will take time to transform itself in a sustainable and inclusive way.