Scandal-hit hospital trust probed over safety breaches

Connor Sparrowhawk Image copyright Sara Ryan
Image caption Southern Health was heavily criticised for the death of Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at an Oxford facility after suffering an epileptic seizure

A hospital trust that ran a unit where a man drowned in the bath will be investigated for safety breaches.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has been asked to provide information on a number of unexplained deaths.

The death of Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, will be one of the cases reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive.

Trust chairman Mike Petter resigned on Friday after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found the trust was "continuing to put patients at risk".

Regulator NHS Improvement said it intends to appoint Tim Smart as new chairman.

'Dramatic change needed'

Mr Sparrowhawk died after having a seizure in the bath at Slade House in Oxford. An inquest jury found neglect contributed to his death.

The CQC found the trust still had not implemented safe bathing guidelines.

Image copyright Crispin Hughes
Image caption Former hospital chief executive Tim Smart is set to be appointed as chairman of the scandal-hit Southern Health, after the resignation of Mike Petter

NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackay said: "It is clear that dramatic change is needed urgently at Southern Health.

"Our action today in proposing the appointment of Tim Smart - a very experienced NHS leader - at the top of the organisation will speed up this improvement."

Image caption Mike Petter said he was leaving the trust "with great sadness"

Mr Petter's departure on Thursday was followed by the resignation of Mark Aspinall, one of 13 public governors for the trust.

In his resignation letter, Mr Aspinall said there was an "apparent lack of drive and determination" to improve the situation at the trust.

Patients jumped off hospital roof

Southern Heatlh was inspected by the CQC after a report by NHS England found it did not investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 patients over a four-year period.

Its chief executive Katrina Percy has refused calls to resign from Mr Sparrowhawk's mother, Dr Sara Ryan.

Ms Percy said the CQC's findings sent "a clear message to the leadership... that more improvements must be delivered and as rapidly as possible".

The trust provides mental health services to patients in Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.