The board of under-fire Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust have said there will be no resignations in the wake of a critical report which found that it failed to investigate hundreds of deaths over a 4-year period.

At an emergency board meeting of the trust held yesterday (January 11), families of people who have died called for Southern Health’s chief executive Katrina Percy to resign. However, board chair Mike Petter said that no one would resign over these issues.

Last month, Southern Health was heavily criticised in an independent report by Mazars over its failure to adequately investigate hundreds of unexplained deaths that occurred at the trust over four years from 2011. Mazars’ report also found that many investigations into deaths were of poor quality and took too long to complete; there was a lack of leadership, focus and sufficient time spent in the trust on carefully reporting and investigating deaths, and there was a lack of family involvement in investigations after a death.

At the board meeting, about 50 people attended to confront the board and call for their resignation, led by Sara Ryan, whose son, Connor Sparrowhawk, who had learning disabilities, drowned in a bath in 2013 while under Southern Health’s care. In 2015, an inquest jury found that neglect had contributed to his death and noted several other serious failings in his care. 

At the meeting, Tom Ryan, Connor’s 16-year-old brother, said: “I think it's outrageous that you haven't properly actually apologised to my family, or even acknowledged the fact of what my mum has done, and you should be proud of her for pointing out your flaws so that you can at least improve them, because without her, you'd be useless.”

In response, Percy said: “We are all, myself personally and all of us, incredibly sorry that the actions and the care allowed Connor to die. 

“We can't imagine the pain for you losing a brother, for your mum losing a son, and for the rest of your family. 

“We completely understand that Connor's death was preventable. 

“Connor should not have been in a bath with epilepsy, and we absolutely agree with that, and we are just so sorry that we didn't prevent his death.”

It has also been announced that the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, will be making unannounced inspections at the trust in the coming weeks.