England

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust governor resigns

Connor Sparrowhawk Image copyright JusticeforLB
Image caption Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, who died at Southern Health facility, had epilepsy and experienced seizures

A governor at the much-criticised Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has resigned.

The trust has been under fire since a report found it had failed to properly investigate hundreds of deaths of patients under its care.

John Green, Public Governor for the South West, described the way in which the trust and the NHS responded to the report as "farcical".

Southern Health confirmed it had received Mr Green's resignation.

A spokeswoman said: "There will follow an election for a new governor, which is a voluntary role, in due course."

'Pointless'

The trust's chief executive, Katrina Percy, has so far resisted calls for her resignation, and Health Minister Alistair Burt said last month that a decision about Ms Percy's future was "not yet concluded".

In his resignation letter, Mr Green said he had been intending to resign for some time but had delayed doing so on the assumption there would be an extraordinary meeting of the trust's council of governors (CoG) before any decisions were made by NHS Improvement or the government.

He said the meeting, which had been "indefinitely prevented from taking place" had been intended to determine a vote on a resolution of no confidence in the trust's board.

He said: "This has not occurred and it now makes such a meeting pointless, because the CoG is clearly considered as irrelevant."

NHS Improvement declined to comment on Mr Green's claims but said it did not have the power to prevent meetings from being held, it could only highlight pre-existing guidance on the role and remit of governors.

Image caption Chief executive Katrina Percy has come under pressure to resign

The Mazars report commissioned by NHS England found only 272 of the 722 deaths in the trust over the previous four years were dealt with properly.

One of those who died was 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at one of the trust's facilities in Oxford.

Southern Health admitted it "caused" the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in July 2013 and offered his family £80,000 compensation.

In April, inspectors said the trust was "continuing to put patients at risk".

In a statement after Mr Green's resignation the trust said: "We appreciate the personal views John has expressed in his resignation letter, and his comments will be shared with the wider board and council of governors.

"Following the extraordinary council of governors meeting that was adjourned earlier this year, the trust is currently supporting governors in the process of appointing legal representation to ensure that any resolutions put forward for consideration when the meeting reconvenes are legally sound."

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust covers Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

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