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Update following the publication of the report into how we involve families in investigations after a death

13 December 2016

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From Julie Dawes, Interim Chief Executive Officer:

In October 2016, we published a report into how we involve families in investigations following the death of someone under our care. This was commissioned as part of our commitment to improve the way we conduct investigations following the death of an individual in contact with our services. The report clearly set out how we have failed families who were involved in an investigation and the distress that this had caused.   

We want to be open and transparent in what we are doing to improve. The report and recommendations were presented to the Trust Board by the author at the end of October. It has also been shared more broadly with staff, and is available via the link on the right hand side of this page.

We want to develop an action plan that is meaningful, deliverable and measurable, and wish to engage with patients, families and carers. We have started to make contact with individuals and groups to discuss how best to involve them, and want to work with as many people as we can, including our Foundation Trust membership. We know we have not done this well in the past but we want to make sure that we significantly improve our engagement with people in the future. We want the plan to be co-produced with people who use or have other reasons to be involved with our services.

In December we have dates secured in the diary to meet with groups such as Carer’s Together, Consult and Challenge Group (supported by Southampton City CCG), and Hampshire Parent Carer Network.  In January we have dates to meet with Community Action Hampshire and 2 GP Patient Participation Groups. We aim to secure dates with other groups in the near future.

We have plans to hold workshops early in the New Year to help in the development of our action plan. Dates, times, venues and invitations are currently being organised. Details will be available on the trust website.

We are also using feedback gained from other existing avenues to help inform the action plan. For instance, the Clinical Services Strategy workshops that have recently taken place have all received very helpful thoughts and ideas from people using our services. More of these workshops will be taking place in the coming weeks and we will continue share and incorporate the feedback into our action plan.

Some of the work we wish to progress is already taking place, for example, the initial and on-going training of Investigation Officers (IOs). As part of their training and development we are exploring the potential of working with non NHS colleagues e.g. Police family liaison officers, who we know are skilled at talking to families often under very difficult circumstances.  We believe we can learn from them and support our staff to become similarly well skilled. Via the action plan we will evaluate this training to ensure it is having the desired impact with regard to the experience of patients, families and carers together with much improved report writing. 

If you would like to be involved, or find out more about this important piece of work please contact Chris Woodfine, by email at or telephone on 023 8087 4146 or 07771 388495.  

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the families who agreed to take part in the review. We acknowledge that this would have caused some distress and brought back feelings of anger for which we are deeply sorry.  We undertake to pay due regard to the feedback and to make substantial improvements to the way in which we engage with families. In doing so we hope the outcomes and experience of those accessing services in the future will be significantly improved and that this knowledge may go some way towards assuring the families that their contribution was worthwhile.

We will be publishing a similar update at least every two months so that we can demonstrate that we are making progress and sustaining our efforts to improve.