UK: Southern Health chairman Tim Smart resigns after criticism

September 2016 BBC; The chairman of a troubled NHS trust criticised for allowing its under-fire chief executive to move to another post on the same pay has resigned.

Last month Katrina Percy stepped down as head of Southern Health over “media attention” after it failed to investigate hundreds of deaths.

Interim chairman Tim Smart was criticised after it emerged a £240,000 a year post was “created for her”.

The trust said he stepped down for “personal reasons”.

In a statement the trust said: “Since his appointment in May this year, Tim has made a considerable contribution to the trust, driving through changes necessary to improve our services.”

‘Finite role’

Earlier this month it was revealed Ms Percy had already been doing the work involved in her new job as “part of her portfolio as chief executive” since March 2015.

The role involves giving strategic advice to GPs “joining-up” with the wider NHS. Mr Smart clarified it was a “finite role for a 12-month period”.

John Green, a former public governor for Southern Health, said: “I can’t imagine why anyone would pay that kind of money to anybody to provide advice.

“It isn’t right… [it’s about] finding jobs for people that have been loyal to them.” Problems at the trust came to light when 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at a care facility in Oxford.

An inquest found neglect contributed to his death at Slade House in Oxford in 2013.

A report commissioned by NHS England, published in December 2015, discovered that only 272 of the 722 deaths in the trust over the previous four years were investigated.

In June, Southern Health accepted responsibility for Connor’s death and offered his family £80,000 compensation.

His mother Sara Ryan said it was “totally scandalous and shameful” that Ms Percy would keep the same salary in her new role.


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