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'More learning to do' after critical inspection, admits Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust boss



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THE boss of a local NHS trust has admitted there is "more learning to do" after a concerning inspection report earlier this year.

In February the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as ‘requires improvement’, writes David George of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Inspectors noted issues with an "unsafe environment" in acute mental health wards.

Ron Shields of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Ron Shields of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

The trust’s chief executive Ron Shields recently presented the improvements made to a Hampshire County Council select committee.

Issues that were previously highlighted included staff shortages, unclear discharge pathways and breaches of same-sex ward regulations.

Mr Shields said: "We’ve been balancing the impact of Covid-19 while trying to keep all our wards operational. That is why we had some privacy breaches around same-sex wards but this has now been rectified.

"We have covered plenty of issues and made sufficient progress already, but have to remain vigilant.

"We understand all the issues highlighted in the CQC report and are taking steps to resolve them."

Mr Shields was pressed by councillors about ongoing staffing issues, conceding there was still a shortage across the trust.

However, he insisted that all acute wards have enough "suitably skilled and experienced staff" to get by.

"Staffing is the key issue," he said. "In some areas, staffing was at its absolute minimum level, and remains the biggest challenge we currently have."

Councillors were pleased by the advances made by Southern Health, and urged Mr Shields to keep that momentum going.

Vice-chair Cllr Ann Briggs said: "It’s good to see the progress being made."

Cllr Kim Taylor, Labour member for Basingstoke Central, added: "It’s good to see a number of things already being resolved."



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