Troubled Waters


Having reported positive developments – meeting with the National Audit Office and the glimmer of light shining at the AGM on 6 September – we return to troubled waters.


Despite the glimmer of light, which shone whilst socialising after the meeting, , the overall feedback was universally negative.

You can now hear the full audio recording of the formal meeting here→ and judge for yourself. To miss routine business, fast forward to circa 56 minutes for question time. It is well worth a listen, especially:

  1. Interim Finance Director, Paula Anderson talks about not being happy with certain aspects of procurement procedures in the contract awarded to Talent Works and that internal audit had identified it some time ago. If “internal audit” identified it, what did Spires (Chair of Audit Subcommittee) do about it? That’s rhetorical – I think we all know the answer.
  2. Shortly after Paula said this, Smart claims that he and his independent consultants had no evidence that Katrina Percy had done anything wrong! Did he not talk or listen to his Interim Finance Director.
  3. Smart dismisses proof of Katrina Percy colluding with Deloitte LLP to mislead the Department of Health and Southampton CCG as evidence that she had done anything wrong.
  4. Southern Health using super-gagging orders to silence whistle-blowers: someone later referred to the questioner “disembowelling” Tim Smart.
  5. Hear Smart muttering “ridiculous” towards two of us – obviously forgot the mike! That’s how much respect he has for those seeking justice from Southern Health.

We started to receive emails at 20.45 hrs on the same evening: the first stated: 

“So appalled at tonight’s meeting that I missed my turn off tonight and drove to Farnham.”

And another, “What a farce!”

In all, we received 56 emails on the subject of the AGM – 5 on the same evening, 28 on Wednesday and 23 on Thursday, along with a significant number of telephone calls. Save for positive comments about selected directors reported previously, none of them were positive about the Trust overall: some were unrepeatable.


Having found National Audit Office officials welcoming, constructive and keen to listen to evidence relating to value for money and procurement practices at Southern Wealth when we met them on 29 September, some of us went on to NHS Improvement’s Board Meeting – to be joined by two others.

Here we found the attitude towards questions about Southern Health positively hostile – but watch the video and decide for yourselves!

  1. The Chairman offering a private meeting to discuss what happens next at Southern Health, “Provided it remains private.” So what happens next is a private matter and the citizens of Hampshire do not have a right to know. How’s that for being open and transparent in matters of public interest?
  2. The CEO denying his previous Trust used super-gags– despite a Freedom of Information response showing otherwise – the Chairman considers the question inappropriate; refuses to answer; and threatens to close the meeting to the public.
  3. The CEO failing to explain why NHSI claimed on 4 July 2016 to be working closely with the CQC and Healthwatch to improve things at Southern Health when Healthwatch denied it and also denying that he had any knowledge of an invitation from Healthwatch Hampshire to a meeting with bereaved families and others, despite one of his colleagues having acknowledged the invitation.
  4. The Chairman answering a Jim Mackey fan: he emphasises what NHSI is allegedly doing with other regional organisations. No mention of Healthwatch!

It is evident that NHS Improvement was highly embarrassed by the presence of our group and its failed ‘improvement plan’. Simply, they didn’t want a public discussion.As Corporal Jones would have said, “They don’t like it up ‘em.”


One of us had attended the NHS England Board Meeting that morning too, hoping to get clarification of exactly who is responsible for this mess. NHS England simply referred him to NHS Improvement.

So that just about summarises the events of 29 September and the earlier AGM.


The only organisation giving us any confidence that they will take issues relating to Southern Health seriously is not part of the NHS at all – it is in the National Audit Office – and ‘normal procedures’ require them to go through NHS Improvement anyway.

1 thought on “Troubled Waters

  1. Pingback: The slippery slope | Campaign for Reform At Southern Health

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s