THE heartbroken brother of a teenager who died while in the care of a controversial Hampshire health trust led grieving families’ demands for the organisation’s leaders to resign.
Teenager Tom Ryan choked back tears as he branded Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Katrina Percy as “outrageous” in the wake of a scathing inquiry criticising the organisation for failing to investigate the deaths of hundreds of people in its care.
The 16-year-old was among furious relatives packing into the public gallery at an emotional board meeting at the trust headquarters in Tatchbury Mount yesterday – held following the release of the controversial report following the death of his brother Connor Sparrowhawk.
Ms Percy – facing the family for the first time in public – apologised profusely but refused demands for her to resign – saying lessons have been learned.
It comes as she revealed health watchdog the Care Quality Quality Commission (CQC) will launch unannounced inspections at the trust in the coming weeks.
People with learning difficulties told the meeting they had “lost trust” in the organisation’s care.
As reported by the Echo, the trust has faced widespread condemnation in the wake of a report criticising it of “serious failings”.
The report, commissioned by NHS England, and carried out by auditors Mazars looked into all deaths at the trust between April, 2011 and March, 2015.
It showed that of the 10,306 deaths in the period, 722 were categorised as unexpected and only 272 had been investigated.
PICTURED: One of the gingerbread men on display
Relatives crowded into the public gallery next to an art installation featuring 337 handmade figures of gingerbread men representing those who died.
Mr Ryan’ s voice shook as he challenged Ms Percy before embracing his mother Sarah Ryan.
He said: “It’s outrageous you haven’t properly apologised to our family. If it wasn’t for my mother pointing out the flaws you would have been useless. “It’s taken you two years and even if you did do something today, it’s too late.”
He added: “It seems you don’t care about people with learning difficulties. Imagine if it had been babies – it would have been investigated.”
Ms Percy said: “We are incredibly sorry over the actions and care that allowed Connor to die. We can’t imagine how much the pain is for you.”
She added: “Changes are going to happen not just with Southern Health.”
But among heckling calls for her resignation, chairman Mike Petter said no-one will step down adding: “We have put together an action plan. The role of the board is to to take them through this process.”
He promised the organisation will “works its socks off” to improve.
This followed Paul Scrarrot, who has learning difficulties, telling the meeting: “People with disabilities have lost trust in Southern Health. If I go in I will come out in a box.”
Chief operating officer Dr Chris Gordon said the action plan has been delayed by “teething problems” – while board members pointed out the draft contained spelling mistakes.
Afterwards, Connor’s mother Sarah Ryan branded the trust as “a shambles”,it was the first time they had received an apology,adding: “Sorry is a bit late. I wish Tom hadn’t been forced to be put on the spot.”
Richard West, from Park Gate, whose son David died, aged 28, following a long history of mental health problems, said afterwards: “It’s difficult to move forward when you’ve still got the same people there. They should stand down.”