Hampshire County Chaos

Hampshire Adult & Social Care (or careless?) sub-committee (“HASC”) held a meeting on 9th February 206 specifically to discuss the Mazars Review and Southern Health. Unfortunately, your scribe could not attend through family illness.

However, a startling headline appeared on theDaily Echowebsite:

Embattled Southern Health chief executive survives vote of no confidence at county council.

“THE leader of a controversial Hampshire health trust received a surprise boost amid a storm that her organisation failed to investigate the deaths of hundreds of people with mental health problems and learning difficulties.”

And a picture of a smug-looking Katrina Percy too, which I don’t intend to impose on readers again.

So later in the week, we set out to find out what had occurred and spoke to subcommittee members Councillors Huxstep, Harrison, Harvey, Choudhary, Burgess  and Dowden. I also spoke to Cllr Joy, who is not on HASC but was present as an observer: he is a Southern Health Governor too.

All bar one Councillor was willing to hold reasonable conversations but their stories about the meeting varied to a significant degree – even amongst those with the same party affiliation – so, until HASC publishes minutes and/or the wording of the motions, on which HASC voted, it is impossible to comment. However, I can conclude fairly safely that:

  1. Katrina Percy received desperately-needed good press: some Councillors claim the Echo report is misleading – but the Council’s media officer for Adult Social Care / Health & Wellbeing (Public Health) , Jane Vidler  has yet to do anything about it.
  2. HASC gave Southern Health 6-months to improve – ANOTHER 6 MONTHS! To make this decision even more absurd, the Council’s contract with Southern Health for the provision of joint services is due for renewal on 1 April 2016 – and that’s not an April fool’s joke.
  3. Some Councillors alleged voting went mainly along political lines – why is this issue political? If so, for the second time in four years, local Tory Councillors seem adopt the opposite policy to the national party as represented by Conservative Members of Parliament (ref. Hansard).
  4. HASC is not following certain aspects of its own Joint Mental Health Commissioning Strategy [2012-2107].

Alan Dowdendb

Cllr Alan Dowden

‘Star’ of my research’  – leaving aside those who were already supporting me.



Thought I should request a meeting with Council Leader, Cllr Perry; Chairman of HASC Cllr Huxstep; Cllr Joy (a Southern Health Governor too); and Cllr Harrison, in whose constituency your scribe is based. Cllr Roy Perry’s  daughter, Caroline Nokes is MP for Romsey and Southampton North.  

I will write and publish an Open Letter suggesting this meeting.

rita burgessaCllr Rita Burgess

‘Villain of my research’



Claimed it was Chairman’s decision to pass the motion. When I pointed out it was a vote not a decision, she hung up.

Pity anyone in Basingstoke South West constituency with a mental health condition or learning disability. At least the other Councillors’ were willing to defend their position courteously – whether or not we agreed.


If readers wish to address them, a full list of Councillors on HASC with links to their profiles, which includes details of their constituencies, personal telephone numbers and email addresses, is available at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/committee.htm?id=136 .



Caroline Nokes MP contributed her own criticisms to the parliamentary debate instigated by Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP and reported in Hansard 18 Apr 2012 : Column 79WH:



“Far from emphasising convenience, my constituents’ concern has been regarding the quality of provision.” The questions they have posed have been eminently sensible. Why is it proposed to deprive acutely ill patients of the benefit of 24 modern en-suite beds that were opened only eight years ago? Why would the trust choose to keep the facility that is not as good, that does not afford the same level of privacy and dignity and that has no en-suite facilities at all?

I would like to highlight the comments made to me by just two constituents who have contacted me. The first wrote:

“My wife has been an inpatient at both Woodhaven and Melbury Lodge. Melbury Lodge isn’t anywhere near the standard of Woodhaven. Woodhaven is very pleasant, with a lovely atmosphere. Melbury Lodgeby comparison is very intimidating with a lock down high security approach. This may be appropriate for some of their patients but for the majority it’s just scary.”

The second constituent provided me with a very detailed account of his mental health issues, a suicide attempt in 2008, and his own stay at Woodhaven under section. He wrote:

“Having been an inpatient at Woodhaven I would emphasise the privacy. Having a breakdown surrounded by others who do not respect your privacy is very difficult. When I was in acute crisis I desperately needed short term care and support, it would be a disaster for local service users if those high quality short term beds were lost in favour of a less good facility, or worst case scenario, no bed at all.”

I have absolutely no doubt that the facility at Woodhaven is of an extremely high standard; we know that from the comments made by consultant psychiatrists.”

Caroline: I disagree completely that Woodhaven was of “extremely high standard” before the changes. May I suggest respectfully also that comments by Consultants about their employer’s premises should be interpreted with great caution?

Modern en-suite beds” is a misnomer, when patients have to put towels on the floor or hang them over a dusty door top whilst in the shower. Indeed, staff used the words “Bed space” in their notes – far more accurate.

Would you kindly visit https://999crash.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/questions-questions/ to see how Woodhaven patients were treated in 2011 – those incidents went completely un-investigated – and to see how Southern Health perverts the course of inquiries by Regulators and Ombudsmen at


Will you visit The Priory in Marchwood with me to see what “Modern en-suite beds” really look like a mental health hospital in a group that takes an extremely large number of NHS-funded patients.

©¹ Hampshire County Council
©² Parliament

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