12 unexpected deaths in two months to be investigated at mental health trust
PUBLISHED: 06:24 25 January 2020 | UPDATED: 06:24 25 January 2020
A mental health trust has said it will carry out full investigations after 12 patients died unexpectedly in two months.
The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), rated as "requires improvement" by the Care Quality Commission earlier this month, reported the deaths between November 1 and December 31 last year.
All 12 of the deaths - two of which were inpatients - have been reported as unexpected and will result in a full investigation.
The trust said it is not currently clear if care or service delivery issues were responsible for their deaths.
However it said there had been a decline in the number of "serious incidents" compared to the average for the rest of the year.
Speaking at a board meeting, chief medical officer Dr Dan Dalton said the trust will improve mortality reviews in an attempt to better understand the causes of incidents and prevent them being repeated in future.
Dr Dalton added the board remains committed to its goal of zero suicides, adding: "Every suicide is of course a tragedy.
"Every death is a tragic loss and we take every serious incident extremely seriously. This is why we do everything we can to provide the most appropriate support to service users and their family and friends who have been affected.
"We also carry out thorough investigations and, even if the care or service people received did not contribute to what happened, we learn fully from every incident and take action immediately to further improve the care we provide."
The report also listed seven other serious incidents, which included one patient absconding from specialist services and four injuries - three of which involving patients inserting or swallowing foreign objects.
One discharged inpatient was also injured after being involved in a collision with a car in a local A-road.
Risks were also found in patient rooms, with anti-ligature fixtures and fittings found to have potential ligature points.
The report added the highest reported incidents were patients going missing, unauthorised objects, medication errors, self-harm and assault.