Patient records in Sussex ‘not fit for purpose’

An official investigation has found that record keeping systems for mental health patients in Sussex are not fit for purpose.

On 15 February 2010, a mental health patient of Sussex Partnership Trust, Steven Dunne fatally stabbed his former neighbour, Gordon Stalker.

Last year an independent investigation into his care and treatment found ‘repeated failures’ and that the death could have been prevented had he received better care.

Now, a further review has been undertaken to provide an update on the actions taken by the Trust since then.

The report found

  • There were different record keeping systems in different parts of the Trust (some use paper records, others use electronic)
  • The electronic system in use is ‘not user friendly’
  • Key information can be hard to find

and concluded:

“The trust’s clinical record keeping systems are not fit for purpose. The present system does not allow easy communication of client need, care or risk.”

As the most accurate predictor of patient risk is a previous history, accurate patient records are crucial to safe patient care and an adequate assessment of risk.

Sussex PT logo

The death of Gordon Stalker was just one of at least fourteen homicides committed by patients of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust over the last ten years. Some have been particularly terrible.

There have also been high numbers of patient suicides in the county, and criticism from the CQC and others about a worrying lack of patient safety.

Poor record keeping might help explain why.


4 Replies to “Patient records in Sussex ‘not fit for purpose’”

  1. I made a complaint in 2008, which went all way to ombudsman who kind of agreed they did things wrong in aroundabout way but they do not care and they are completely unaccountable. It just goes on and on and never changes. They are so incompetent when will it change. They are ruining peoples lives. Over and over they are criticised but just carry on, they are arrogant, defensive and incompetent.

  2. I completely agree with you. They do not give patients the treatment they are supposed to and managers tell bare faced lies if you challenge them about this. It is quite scary how they behave.

  3. Also once when I rang the crisis team and told them I was having thoughts and compulsions to of kill people they sent the police round ….the police were very apologetic to me when I told them of my illness and said the were sick and tired of the mental health service palming there clients onto them…also I will be the first to admit I can be very abusive when I,m ill…..but it’s because the way they ( the mental health services not the police) talk down to you and treat me when I,m in that state…imagine having strong compulsions to kill people and not being to control it and then you ring up the service and they start treating you really bad….it’s a recipe for disaster….you then put the phone down on them and feel neglected and it makes the compulsions worse….that’s why I can’t go near them when I,m ill……to this day I have had no help for these compulsions…’s getting to the point where I don’t care if I end up in prison because no one listens to me and i am sick and tired of my compulsions they scare me

  4. Absolutely, this Trust is appalling. There is a culture of cover-up and denial. Gail, PHSO are unfit for purpose (look on and you will be extremely unlikely to get justice through them. The new CEO seems to have the same attitude as the last. It goes right through childrens and adult services. Read the recent Healthwatch Brighton & Hove report on CAMHS. They should be ashamed.

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