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Government orders NHS trust review following Nottingham killings

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins has ordered a special review into Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, where multiple killer Valdo Calocane was treated for paranoid schizophrenia.

The review will provide further answers for the families affected by the brutal killings of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and Ian Coates in Nottingham in June 2023. It will also focus on wider issues in mental health care provision in Nottinghamshire, including at Highbury Hospital and Rampton Hospital.

Conducted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it will be carried out alongside the Independent Mental Health Homicide Review ordered by NHS England to examine Calocane’s case.

Any concerns regarding patient safety, quality of care, or public safety will be reported by the CQC, and it will have access to witness statements and oral evidence regarding health services which were called during the criminal trial.

Atkins has asked the CQC to present its findings in March. The government will then issue its response to the review in due course.

‘My thoughts remain with the families and friends of Barnaby, Grace, and Ian, who lost their lives in such a tragic, cruel and barbaric way,’ said Atkins.

‘It is crucial that our mental health services ensure both the care of patients and the safety of the public.

‘I hope the review provides the families and public with some much-needed answers, and that it helps the Trust to improve the standard of mental health care in Nottinghamshire.’

Investigations continue at Highbury Hospital in the light of separate recent staff suspensions and a rapid improvement plan is underway, overseen by a new oversight board established to ensure appropriate action is being taken.

Rampton Hospital – one of three high security hospitals across the country and part of the Trust – recently received an ‘inadequate’ inspection rating from the CQC. The government has asked the regulator to assess the progress made by the hospital to improve standards since that inspection.

Chris Dzikiti, the CQC’s director of mental health, said: ‘We will conduct a rapid review into mental health services in Nottingham to understand whether there are any practical actions which can be taken to improve the quality of services and ensure people receive safe and effective care. We will begin this work immediately, aiming to report to the Secretary of State before the end of March.’

Last autumn the government announced the new Health Services Safety Investigations Body will soon commence a national investigation into mental health inpatient care settings, including inpatient deaths and the transition between child and adult mental health services.

NHS national mental health director Claire Murdoch said: “The killings of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and Ian Coates are devastating, and my thoughts are with their families who have suffered unimaginable loss.

‘It is essential that there is a thorough review that looks into all agencies involved, and to ensure appropriate action is taken. NHS England is commissioning an independent investigation into the case, and we will cooperate fully with the government’s review of the trust’s mental health services, while continuing to provide the trust with intensive support to protect patient safety in partnership with the CQC.’

Image: iStock 

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