THE boss of an NHS trust that was publicly shamed for the deaths of patients, has announced he is quitting – just days after it finally secured a ‘good’ rating from inspectors.
Dr Nick Broughton will depart the chief executive role at the Southern Health NHS Trust in May to head up the NHS Oxford Health Foundation Trust.
He does so having spearheaded a change in the fortunes of Southern Health – which had been in such dire straits it underwent Whitehall intervention and was hauled before the courts after a series of fatalities were exposed in 2015 with the help of campaigning relatives.
Earlier this week Southern Health had its previous overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ has now been upgraded by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ‘good’– the second best of four – capping quite a turnaround.
Dr Broughton, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, became chief executive of Southern Health in 2017.
He said: “I am pleased that together with colleagues we have made significant improvements at Southern Health over the last two years. I have every confidence in the trust board and staff to continue to make improvements in care for local people.
“Taking on the position at Oxford Health is a fantastic opportunity but I will certainly be very sad to leave Southern Health. However, now is an ideal time to hand over the leadership of the organisation as it embarks on the next stage of its journey to becoming an ‘outstanding’ trust.”
Trust chair Lynne Hunt thanked Dr Broughton for his “instrumental” work, adding: “Nick will leave a stronger and more capable leadership team committed to continuing improvement at Southern Health – a fact also recognised by the CQC in their recent inspection report.”
She confirmed that the trust had already begun actively searching for a replacement.
Southern Health is based at Tatchbury Mount, near Totton, and provides mental health services in Hampshire. It employs more than 5,900 staff, and is responsible for hospitals at Lymington, Hythe and Fordingbridge.
The improved CQC rating comes after a visit by inspectors in October last year to check acute wards and intensive care units for children and adults, and whether the trust was now well led after years of failure.
As reported in the A&T, the trust’s problems emerged in 2016 and its chief executive Katrina Percy had to resign.
In 2018 it was fined £2m in a Health and Safety Executive prosecution, including the case of Emery Down woman Teresa Colvin who died at Woodhaven from a ligature incident.
One of the notable findings by the CQC was that “significant work” had been done to minimise ligature risks, including to fittings such as curtains and door censors.
Dr Kevin Cleary, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, praised the trust and said staff, patients and the leadership team should be “proud”.
He added: “The trust did face some challenges and there are still some areas of improvement required but there has been a significant improvement in the services at this trust.”
In the sub-category of “being effective” the trust was rated as ‘requires improvement’. However, it was ‘good’ for being safe, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led.
Over 90% of services were rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
Dr Broughton said he was “very encouraged” by the report which he said reflected “significant strides we have made to improve the quality and safety of all services.”