Southern Health trust to hold crisis meeting on leadership

Connor Sparrowhawk Image copyright Sara Ryan
Image caption Connor Sparrowhawk died following an epileptic seizure in 2013

A decision on the future of a health trust's embattled chief executive could be made within six weeks, the trust chairman has said.

In April inspectors said the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust was "continuing to put patients at risk".

Trust chairman Tim Smart has cancelled a meeting covering the future of chief executive Katrina Percy.

But trust governor Peter Bell is still planning to hold the session and has urged other board members to join him.

Mr Bell said another four governors were planning to attend the meeting at the Lyndhurst Community Centre in Hampshire on Tuesday.

He said they would vote on the future of Ms Percy and other trust directors, even though seven of the trust's 13 governors were required to attend for the meeting to be valid.

The session is due to hear evidence from the mother of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk, a mental health patient who drowned in a bath at Slade House, in Oxford, in 2013.

'Not legally robust'

In December an investigation commissioned by NHS England found that only 272 of the 722 deaths in the trust over the previous four years were properly investigated.

And the trust was issued with a warning notice by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection in January.

Trust chairman Tim Smart said he was carrying out an internal review of the leadership of Southern Health and would reconvene the board meeting within four to six weeks.

Mr Smart, who was appointed earlier this month by the regulator NHS Improvement, said he had cancelled the session because the resolutions put forward by governors for discussion "did not comply with NHS Improvement guidance, and any vote would not be legally robust".

Southern Health provides mental health services to patients across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

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