Undercover filming for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme shown on 10th October revealed grave failings in mental health wards including those at Rochford. The Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board commission mental health services for Southend and the two mental health facilities featured in the programme are provided by the Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT). A full investigation has begun and the Quality Care Commission had already made an unannounced inspection the previous week; they will publish their report soon. As the issues highlighted in the programme will concern the wider public in Southend, this was raised by Labour’s Kay Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Health, at the Council’s People Scrutiny Committee Meeting the day after the broadcast. Cllr Mitchell confirmed that she has written to Anthony McKeever, chief executive of the Integrated Care Board, and made the following statement to the Committee.

“I want to make members aware of the actions I have taken due to concerns about mental health services provided by EPUT.

“Some of you may have seen Channel 4’s Dispatches programme or read recent articles in the press.

“As members will be aware the Integrated Care System (MSE ICS) commission mental health services for Southend residents from EPUT and therefore in my capacity as Portfolio Holder, and as Chair of the Health and Wellbeing board, I have written to their Chief Executive. In that letter I have asked for a formal response outlining the identified risks, the assurance processes the organisation has put in place and details of the actions should quality of care not improve.

“I am sure we will all agree that the safety and care of patients should always be the highest priority and I hope you will agree that the steps I have taken so far it will enable the NHS to provide us with assurance that they are addressing issues for Southend residents. I will keep members of this scrutiny committee updated as and when appropriate.”

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