Criticised Southern Health trust appoints new chair

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

A new chair has been appointed to the criticised Southern Health NHS Trust.

Tim Smart replaces interim chair Mike Petter after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found the trust was "continuing to put patients at risk".

Southern Health failed to adopt safe bathing guidelines for two-and-a-half years after Connor Sparrowhawk died following an epileptic seizure in 2013, the report found.

Mr Smart said reviewing the capability of the trust's board was a priority.

During an urgent question in the House of Commons on Tuesday Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said "serious changes in the leadership" were needed.

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

Mr Petter's departure 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.

Former hospital chief executive Mr Smart said: "Two of my immediate priorities are to make sure that the quality and safety of our services improve and to make sure the Board functions more effectively.

"The Care Quality Commission has identified some serious issues which need to be resolved quickly and effectively. I assure everyone that as Chair I will always act in the best interests of the population we serve."

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