Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Father says son's death 'likened to airline baggage loss' by Southern Health

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

A father whose son died in the care of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has said staff likened the death of patients to an airline losing baggage.

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

His father Richard West raised concerns about the trust's treatment of the case, but was "ignored", he said.

The BBC revealed the trust had failed to investigate over 1,000 unexpected deaths since 2011.

Mr West said: "I had a meeting with a trust member and during the conversation we had, the analogy he used was that they were a bit like British Airways and it was like losing baggage, it was a bit difficult and that's what they had to cater with and I really couldn't believe what the person was saying to me really.

"It was harrowing."

Image caption Richard West said his son David was described as "toxic to the system" by a consultant psychiatrist

The trust provides services to about 45,000 people.

'Toxic to system'

A report seen by the BBC found there were 1,454 unexpected deaths at the trust between April 2011 and March 2015.

Of those 195 were treated as requiring an investigation.

Mr West said a consultant psychiatrist "dismissed" his son and wrote on his patient notes he was "toxic to the system".

After his son's death Mr West became concerned about the trust's treatment of his case, but was "ignored" when he raised this, the father told BBC Radio 4.

He said: "I think you have to trust in these hospitals and I certainly don't have any in Southern Health, I am not sure they have learnt at all."

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said it accepted its processes "had not always been up to the high standards our patients, their families and carers deserve.

"However, we have already made substantial improvements in this area over a sustained period of time," a spokesman added.

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