Norfolk & Suffolk mental health trust launches probe into high number of patient deaths

Michael Scott CEO of the Norfolk and Suffolk FoundationTrust answering questions on the findings in

Michael Scott CEO of the Norfolk and Suffolk FoundationTrust answering questions on the findings in Care Quality Commission report. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The region’s mental health trust will launch an independent investigation into the large number of unexpected deaths and suicides among patients in its care.

The under-fire Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) announced the step at a board meeting this morning. The results will be published in the next three months.

Latest figures show there were a total of 35 unexpected deaths at the trust in October, November, and December bringing this financial year’s number so far to 112. In 2014/15 the number of deaths totalled 139.

The NSFT has the highest number of unexpected deaths in England.

Michael Scott, NSFT chief executive, said: “The figures relating to unexpected deaths released this week did not provide comparable data. Commissioning an investigation by an independent organisation shows how committed our Board is into seeking clarity about what has caused this rise.

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“It will also reassure those who find the figures alarming that our Trust, as a high reporter of serious incidents, is also one that can provide evidence of low harm to our patients.

“Our Trust already investigates every single death as soon as possible, and before the cause has been established, to assure ourselves that the death was not due to service or care issues and any lessons learned.

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“The process for conducting our own investigations is already very thorough and includes liaising with families and carers, the relevant CCG, coroner and, in some cases, the police. By examining the results of our investigations we are able to see any trends or emerging issues and take immediate steps to address them.”

The problems of the service have been documented in the EADT’s Mental Health Watch which campaigns for better service in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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