Welcome to 2016

We start the year with a letter to the Council of Governors in advance of their Extraordinary Meeting on 5 January 2016.

4 January 2016

By email only: governors@southernhealth.nhs.uk

Cherry Barney; Andrew Jackman; Arthur Monks; John Green; Sue Smith Susie Scorer; Claire Hughes; Josie Metcher; Tom Whicher; Bill Webber; Helen Keats MBE; Mark Aspinall; Maureen Norton; Vicky Melville; Nick Sergeant; Paul Valentine; Liz Hall MBE; Cllr Andrew Joy; Cllr Paul Lewsey Janet Chiera MBE; Rick Smith; Professor Clive Holmes

Dear Governors

I refer to the letter from Sara Ryan and Richard Huggins to you dated 2 January 2016, sent by email. I fully concur with the comments therein and can back up most of them from personal experience as a ‘victim’ of the Trust, who survived.

Notwithstanding the conclusions reached by Mazars, I suggest respectfully that the Governors pay due regard to the lack of crisis management expertise amongst the Trust’s Directors and executives. Please see my open letter to Mike Petter of 22 December 2015 (attached).

The Trust’s conduct from the time it became aware of the likely content of the Mazars Review has been shambolic and counterproductive. There is no excuse: it had been evident for many months that the Mazars Review would be highly critical of the Trust so its Executive Directors had ample time to prepare a crisis management plan before publication.

In any organisation, the key to successful crisis management is immediate, decisive action to minimise reputational damage; safeguard the well-being of customers; and preserve staff morale. Clearly, no such plan was in place. As a result, the Trust’s actions had exactly the opposite effect: patient groups and staff perceived that Executive Directors simply were protecting their own interests.

One only has to read the Executive Summary of the Mazars Review ‘Leadership and board oversight of deaths‘ (pages 17 to 19) to know where the buck stops. There alone, words such as ‘poor leadership’; ‘Failure of leadership and governance‘; ‘lack of focus’; and ‘no effective action’ speak for themselves.

I respectfully suggest that the Council of Governors exercise its influence over the Board by counselling hem to take decisive action including immediate suspension of Katrina Percy and Dr Lesley Stevens ending a full disciplinary inquiry.

Only then do I believe that the Trust can move into the ‘recovery’ phase. If time allows, I will send you very brief summary of my personal experience later.

Yours faithfully


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