England

Southern Health NHS deaths police complaint probed

David West
Image caption David West had a history of mental health problems and died in 2013

Police are investigating a complaint alleging criminal behaviour by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust from a man whose son died in its care.

David West, 28, had a history of mental health problems. He died in 2013.

The Southampton man's father Richard West has accused the trust of producing false and misleading information, an offence under the 2014 Care Act.

Last month the BBC revealed the trust had failed to investigate hundreds of unexpected deaths since 2011.

A report, which was leaked to the BBC, showed there had been more than 10,000 deaths at the trust between 2011 and 2015.

Not all deaths require an investigation, but of the 722 unexpected deaths only 272 had been investigated.

Image caption Richard West has accused the trust of producing false and misleading information, an offence under the 2014 Care Act

In a statement, Hampshire Police said Mr West's complaint would be "assessed and investigated".

The statements at the centre of the complaint concern information on deaths and serious incidents published by Southern Health in reports for parliament and regulators.

Richard West, a former police officer, told BBC News: "We're talking about the deaths of people, this is really serious stuff.

"Behind all the figures there are lots of families that are in turmoil and if you aren't getting the correct information, they're not providing the right information, how can people really judge them and assess them."

He previously said staff had likened the death of patients to an airline losing baggage.

The specific clause of the Care Act being examined was brought in following the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

It makes it a criminal offence to publish misleading information even if there was no intention to deceive.

Southern Health, which provides services to about 45,000 people, has not yet commented.

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