Member of Parliament for Fareham, Suella Braverman, has met with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Parliament to discuss concerns about the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and its mental health services. The meeting followed a letter from Mrs Braverman to the Secretary of State in February where she outlined her concerns about the Trust’s performance and areas for improvement.
Joined by fellow Hampshire MPs Sir Desmond Swayne and George Hollingbery, Mrs Braverman discussed Southern Health’s current performance and its welcome plans for improvement, as well as concerns about past failings for mental health patients and what needs to be done to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated again.
In particular, concerns were raised by the three local MPs about the lack of mental health beds in Hampshire and the recruitment and retention of mental health staff and whether levels of pay reflected increasing house prices. They also queried what support the Department of Health & Social Care can offer to the Trust to make sure that improvements are made and the quality of service improves across the board to ensure patient safety.
Commenting on the meeting, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I understand the challenges that Southern Health has been through over the last few years and it was very good to hear from Suella first-hand about what’s been happening and also what she thinks needs to change, and we take that very, very seriously.
“We’re putting more money into mental health services, but we’re also seeing increased demand and we need to make sure that that money is spent well. We support Southern Health to make sure those services get better, that access is easier and people get the support they need.”
Just days before the meeting, Mrs Braverman met with Southern Health’s Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton, alongside families whose relatives died whilst in the care of the Trust to discuss their ongoing concerns and what action is being taken to improve the level of care provided to mental health patients.
Following the meeting, Suella Braverman MP said:
“I am very grateful to the Health Secretary for meeting with me to discuss my ongoing concerns about the quality of mental health care at Southern Health. The Trust has kept me updated on their improvement plans which I welcome, but there is more to do and this will require a joint effort between the Trust, the NHS and the government.
“My previous meeting with Southern Health and affected families was also very constructive and I am confident that the Trust can improve and regain the confidence of Hampshire patients.
“I look forward to working further with both Southern Health and the government to make sure that the people of Hampshire have access to the level of care that they need and deserve.”