As I said earlier in the year NEAS has been underfunded and understaffed for years – but that does not excuse management from being more concerned at protecting their reputation than protecting patients. The initial reports of neglect, cover ups and whistle-blowers being silenced were awful and I’m pleased that the investigation has acknowledged the financial issues whilst making many recommendations on how NEAS must urgently improve.
The review itself makes for upsetting reading, finding there was a “trend” for NEAS to provide coroners with “confusing or conflated” information rather than the original material and there was “no independent communications with families” which would have “lessened the trauma”.
It also found opportunities for learning were missed, processes were not followed by NEAS and that the leadership was dysfunctional, reporting that staff were “fearful of speaking up” and those who did raise concerns were left “anxious, frustrated and stressed”.
I welcome the recommendations put forward in Dame Marianne Griffiths independent review and the apologies given to the families concerned.
I will be meeting the Trust again shortly to seek their assurances that all the recommendations have been urgently complied with.