Katrina Percy announced Tuesday she was stepping down as chief executive after nine years, citing media attention on staff and patients following severe criticism over failings in the way the trust investigated deaths of patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems.
An NHS England-commissioned report published in December found only 272 of the 722 deaths over four years had been properly investigated.
The report criticised a ‘lack of leadership’ at all levels of the trust, a ‘lack of strategic focus relating to mortality’ and ‘lack of board challenge to the systems and processes around the investigation of deaths’.
The investigation was launched after the death of an 18-year-old man who drowned in a bath following an epileptic seizure at a trust facility in 2013.
A subsequent review by the trust’s interim chairman Tim Smart in May said while there was ‘no evidence of negligence’ by any board member, and Ms Percy would remain in her post, the chief executive had ‘been too operationally focused’ and would shift her focus to strategy.
Mr Smart announced the trust’s learning disability services would be transferred to another trust.
Southern Health was told by the CQC in April to improve governance arrangements, with the watchdog warning that the trust had 'failed to mitigate against significant risks'.
GP integration role
In her resignation statement Ms Percy said: ‘I am delighted to be taking on an alternative role, providing strategic advice to local GP leaders as they work with others to transform the way in which health services are delivered across Hampshire, and I feel that now is the right time to take on that new challenge.’
Ms Percy will take up the position as strategic adviser to Fareham and Gosport GP Alliance, working on the MCP vanguard project and employed by Southern Health remaining on her current salary, around £240,000, a trust spokeswoman said.
Both Southern Health and Fareham and Gosport GP Alliance are members of the Better Local Care MCP organisation, which aims to improve access to GP appointments and give GPs direct access to hospital specialists by integrating more services in the community.