Suella outlines improvement priorities for Southern Health following ‘categorical failures’

Fareham MP Suella Braverman has written to the Health Secretary outlining priority areas of improvement for the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust following “categorical failures” that led to the death of patients

Mrs Braverman has outlined seven priorities for the Trust to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, including the need to decrease out of area bed use which currently costs £12 million per year, the provision of £5m of ring-fenced funding for community health services and the need to train GPs to deal with mental health and learning disabilities including Psycho-Social therapy pilots to help people with stress.

The letter has been co-signed by fellow Hampshire MPs Caroline Dinenage, Sir Desmond Swayne, Maria Miller and Ranil Jayawardena.

Recognising that Southern Health has “committed to a programme of transformational change” to address previous failings, Mrs Braverman tells the Health Secretary that a “key element of the transformation is the introduction of a recognised world class quality improvement programme that empowers the front line staff, service users and their families” which gives them “a real say in coproducing the type of services required to better meet customer need, designing how services are delivered in the communities where they live and work and most importantly agreeing recovery care plans with healthcare professionals”.

Mrs Braverman adds that although this is the correct approach, she and fellow Hampshire MPs say there needs to be a “greater focus on real outcome measures that truly illustrate how effective the service is at helping people to recover from lack of mental wellbeing and resume meaningful and rewarding lives within their families and communities”.

Also amongst the seven areas of improvement, Mrs Braverman has identified the need to improve funding for community health services for adults and older people, that Southern Health should subscribe to a culture of continual improvement and best practice, that an affective “triangle of care” be mandated to ensure people suffering with mental distress can be assessed and treated following discussion and agreement with the service user, family of the user and relevant healthcare professional, and that medical examiners be independent of the Trust to ensure transparency.

Commenting on her letter, Suella Braverman said:

“I have identified seven areas of improvement which I believe are crucial to ensuring that Southern Health can deliver safe and effective services to the people of Hampshire and I have written to the Health Secretary along with fellow Hampshire MPs to highlight our concerns and what needs to be improved. I look forward to hearing back from the Health Secretary on this very important issue.”

The letter was also sent to the chief officer and chair of Southern Health.