Letter from NHS England to Healthwatch England January 2015
CQC has called for improvements to be made in services provided by St Andrews Healthcare. The CQC inspection report into the provider, released on 10 February, gave St Andrews an overall rating of "requires improvement.
In response to ongoing work by Healthwatch Northamptonshire, we have formally escalated concerns with NHS England regarding the St Andrews site in Northamptonshire.
Healthwatch Northamptonshire have actively raised concerns locally and continue to engage in the local quality assurance process of St Andrews Healthcare, including with the lead commissioners - NHS England Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
Our concerns centre on the absence of an external investigation into four deaths on the same low secure ward at St Andrews during an eight month period in 2010-11, lessons learnt and improvements made in care since this time, and underlying concerns into the quality of care provided at the hospital.
We have formally escalated concerns to the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, as well as raising them with CQC.
Healthwatch has worked closely with CQC both locally and nationally to ensure that the information that Healthwatch Northamptonshire shared has influenced CQC's inspection planning to target areas of concern. We also shared new information that resulted in a responsive review before the full scale planned inspection in September 2014. This case forms part of a bank of case studies to inform all parties of how we can most effectively work together.
Full correspondence between Healthwatch England and NHS England is below.
The concerns with St Andrews raises wider questions on the apparent disparity on how deaths and serious incidents are investigated in secure mental health settings, as opposed to in prisons and custody.