A crisis-hit NHS trust that failed to properly investigate the deaths of more than 1,000 people in its care has become the first ever to be prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over safety.
The CQC said last week that it is to prosecute the troubled Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust over “an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to a patient and other patients being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm”.
The trust accepted responsibility in June last year for Connor Sparrowhawk’s death after the 18-year-old drowned in a bath at Slade House in Headington, one of its Oxford facilities, in July 2013.
However this prosecution relates to an incident from December 2015 when an unnamed patient suffered serious injuries during a fall from a low roof at the trust’s Melbury Lodge site in Hampshire, the CQC said.
The case is expected to be heard later in the year by Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court. Southern Health is currently withdrawing all services from Oxfordshire.
The trust, which offers support to people with mental health challenges and learning difficulties, made the headlines repeatedly last year following investigations into the deaths of hundreds of people under their care between 2011 and 2015.
In November last year the CQC said Southern Health, which has been embroiled with leadership uncertainties, had made “a number of significant improvements” in identifying risks to patients following its September 2016 inspection.