Probe For City’s Mental Health Services

Experts are to carry out a probe into Portsmouth’s mental health services after they were rated among the worst in the country. Inspectors will look at the way mentally ill patients are looked after and make recommendations to improve the service.

The review comes after Portsmouth’s Primary Care Trust was heavily criticised in a report into the death of Geoffrey Hodgkins. Mr Hodgkins, 37, of Leigh Park, a paranoid schizophrenic, died after being restrained at St James’s Hospital, Milton, Portsmouth.

Earlier this year, Portsmouth became one of just six trusts in the country to be rated as ‘weak’ by inspectors from national body the Healthcare Commission – putting it in the bottom three per cent.

Teams from the Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection will examine the service and make recommendations to improve the service.

Judy Hillier, director of service at the Primary Care Trust, said: “I’m not going to make any excuses. We were enormously disappointed to be ranked ‘weak’ but we have to respect it. We believe our services are better than that but there is still a lot of work to do. This review will enable us to make improvements straight away. The public can see what our weaknesses are. We want them to help us improve them.”

During the review, experts will quiz staff, patients and carers about services provided in Portsmouth.

They will also randomly select 12 patients whose cases and care will be assessed. They will then draw up an action plan that will be closely monitored by regional bosses.