The chairman of the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Fran Whymark, is urging the government to launch a public inquiry into the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) over concerns regarding ongoing safety issues. Last year, an independent report by Grant Thornton revealed that NSFT had lost track of figures for patient deaths. Mr. Whymark expressed his disappointment with the pace of progress and has written a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Victoria Atkins MP, requesting a statutory public inquiry.
The Grant Thornton Mortality Review, conducted in the summer of last year, discovered inconsistencies between the number of patient deaths reported in public documents and the internal figures at NSFT. The exact number of avoidable deaths remained unknown as the cause of death had not been established in most cases. Despite NSFT’s assertion that the majority of deaths were unrelated to poor care, Mr. Whymark remains concerned about the quality of services and is calling for a re-inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
NSFT has stated that it is collaborating with local integrated care boards to ensure the completion of recommendations and associated actions. They claim that progress is being made, but Mr. Whymark insists that a clear plan for change is necessary to improve access to mental health services and establish robust audit processes. The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment on this matter.