A Northamptonshire mental health care provider has launched serious incident investigations into three unexpected deaths.
Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust is looking into the care given to three people who had been using its services before they died.
The deaths happened in July, August and September last year and were reported in the trust’s learning from deaths report published in November.
According to NHS rules, serious incidents have to be reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and immediate action must be taken to establish the facts.
A spokesman for the trust, which provides community and mental health care services across Northamptonshire, said: “During Quarter 2 2018/19 we instigated three serious incident investigations relating to unexpected deaths in our services, none of these deaths were in an inpatient setting.
“In line with the NHS England Serious Incident Framework we launched internal investigations into these deaths. The purpose of these investigations is to understand the circumstances of the unexpected deaths and identify any learning as part of the continuous improvement of our services.
“Our culture of continuous learning was recognised in our CQC rating of Outstanding in August 2018.”
A team of staff will be looking into the circumstances of the deaths and each investigation has a 60 working day deadline.
The trust has declined to say whether the investigations have concluded and said: “we cannot confirm any further details as it may enable the patient to be identified, which goes against national guidance. Our priority is the safeguarding of patients, families and carers and this includes complete confidentiality.”
According to the NHS Serious Incident Framework: “Investigations carried out under this framework are conducted for the purposes of learning to prevent recurrence. They are not inquiries into how a person died (where applicable) as this is a matter for coroners. Neither are they conducted to hold any individual or organisation to account as other processes exist for that purpose including: criminal or civil proceedings, disciplinary procedures, employment law and systems of service and professional regulation, such as the Care Quality Commission and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, and the General Medical Council.”
Last year NHFT was graded outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and in November it won trust of the year at the HSJ Awards.