Sister of Jeremy Head who died at NSFT’s Wedgwood House ‘devastated’ by trust’s CQC result
The sister of a 49-year-old man who died while being treated on a ward run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) says she was horrified to hear the trust was back in special measures.
Joanna Clark, whose brother Jeremy Head was found hanged on the NSFT-run Wedgwood mental health ward at West Suffolk Hospital, said she was “devastated” to hear failings identified three years ago had not been addressed.
Mr Head’s body was discovered in his room on November 23, 2014, He had complained about severe stomach pains in the weeks before. His symptoms had been passed off as psychosomatic.
Despite Mrs Clark finding a knife, a note and an empty tablet packet in his room two weeks before his death, Mr Head had not been considered to be a high risk patient.
“The news is absolutely devastating,” said Mrs Clark.
“It makes the memory of Jeremy’s death even more bitter.
“Despite the information and advice given at the inquest the trust still haven’t dealt with the issues.”
Pressure is mounting on the executive directors of the trust to step aside following the damning CQC report.
Dr Adrian James, registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It’s scandalous that the apparent leadership problems which have bedevilled this trust since its inception are still to be addressed. I can’t help thinking some of this is going to need new people from outside.”
A spokesman from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, added: “Perhaps the lesson to be learned is the NSFT board and management team is incapable of improvement and that now is the time for replacement.”
However, Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said he thought the board needed to stay to work on the issues brought up by the health watchdog.
He said: “The CQC report is obviously disappointing and there are issues that will need to be addressed. It is right, although regrettable, that the chief executive has taken responsibility and moved on but it would be the wrong for the whole board to resign. We need continuity and people who understand the issues the trust needs to focus on.
“It would be far too destabilising at this stage.”
The NSFT board has apologised following the recent CQC report saying they will work hard to do the best for its patients in the future.
A joint statement said: “We accept the findings in the CQC report and we take full responsibility.
“We have not made enough significant improvements over the past year and for that we apologise to staff, service users, and carers. They are the absolute priority and, at this time, we must and will remain focused.
“We are here to get the job done and we have every confidence in our frontline staff and managers that we can achieve this.
“It will be hard work, but we are all motivated by doing what is best for our patients.”
A spokesman for the CQC added: “The board had failed to address all the serious concerns that had been reported to them since 2014.
“The board needed to take further and more timely action to address areas of improvement.”