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Independent Review

CEO welcomes open and transparent report and pledges to implement recommendations

Independent experts asked to examine how numbers of local unexpected deaths compare with national levels have today declared that the number of suicides in Norfolk and Suffolk is not higher than the national average.

However, they suggest there remains more to be done to work with bereaved families and to implement recommendations they have made to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS FT (NSFT) around how lessons are learned from unexpected deaths and serious incidents.

The 136-page report was released today (Thursday, May 26) by Verita - a leading agency for independent inquiries.

Verita was commissioned by NSFT in February to independently investigate whether the mental health trust is an outlier in terms of numbers, patterns or trends in unexpected deaths.

This came after the NSFT Board had concerns that the number of unexpected deaths it reports was increasing, and following the release of unstandardised national data in which it appeared the Trust had the highest rates of unexpected deaths among mental health Trusts in the country.

Click here to view the Verita report.

In conjunction with the Verita investigation, the Trust took part in a review led by NHS England (Local Office), which looked at governance arrangements at health trusts for investigating deaths in the context of the new NHS Serious Incident framework.

Michael Scott, Chief Executive explained: "All of the recommendations made by Verita and NHS England are already, or will be, acted upon. We are far from complacent, and there would be no point in our commissioning this investigation if we turn a blind eye to where is indicates we need to do better. That is something we simply will not do."

"The safety of our service users and our services is paramount and one single avoidable death is one too many – that is why we commissioned this investigation. We wanted to ensure that our services are as safe as they can possibly be."