PERFORMANCE: Regulators have told the trust running an inpatient mental health centre where an 18-year-old man avoidably died last year that it is “improving”, following an unannounced inspection.

However, the Care Quality Commission found that staff at the Oxfordshire site run by Southern Health Foundation Trust were still not fully respecting and involving the people who use their services.

In a report published last week following the inspection of the trust’s Slade House facility in March, the watchdog found that patients “understood the care and treatment choices available to them”.  

But inspectors identified cases where patients at the site’s John Sharich House unit were not being involved in “significant” personal decisions, such as the imposition of a blanket ban on taking baths.

The trust implemented the ban after patient Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at the site’s other facility, the Short Term Assessment and Treatment Team unit in July 2013.

An independent investigation, commissioned by the trust, found that staff at Slade House site failed to properly risk assess Mr Sparrowhawk’s epilepsy.

The STATT has been closed to new patients since last September.

Lesley Munro, divisional director for learning disabilities at the trust, said, “We are very pleased that the CQC have recognised our recent efforts to improve services at the Slade site, however we will be continuing to scrutinise every area of care delivery to ensure that these improvements are sustained.”

“We will continue to work with the CQC, commissioners, staff, service users and their families to ensure we are providing the right care at the right time, in the most effective way.”

A CQC spokesman said: “CQC will return in due course to ensure that improvements are sustained, and that further improvements required are made. In the meantime, inspectors will continue to monitor the service and could return unannounced at any time if new concerns are raised.”

The regulator has asked the trust to report back to them by 13 June, detailing the action the trust will take to meet the required standards.