County council delays NHS trust’s contract renewal pending watchdog’s review

Nottinghamshire County Council
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottinghamshire County Council has suspended entering into a new contract for children’s health due to an ongoing review ordered after Valdo Calocane’s conviction.

The Nottinghamshire Healthy Families Programme is implemented by the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT).

Part of the programme includes identifying children and young people who are at risk of harm, or those who need additional support.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out an urgent review of the trust’s mental healthcare following its contact with triple killer Valdo Calocane.

Calocane fatally stabbed students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates, in Nottingham in June 2023.

He made a plea of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, due to suffering from severe mental health problems at the time. He’d previously been in the care of the trust.

An initial report, published on Tuesday, March 26, found mental health patients and the public were being put at risk due to delays at NHFT and the care not always being suitable.

The county council’s Healthy Families contract with the trust is due to expire in October 2024.

THe council’s cabinet voted on Thursday (March 28) to postpone this awaiting the publication of the final part of the review.

A report states there is “a potential risk to the quality of Health Families Programme service delivered and the subsequent outcomes for children and families in Nottinghamshire”.

A decision on the contract will be made at a later date by Councillor Scott Carlton (Con), the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities.

Leader Councillor Ben Bradley (Con) told the meeting: “It is really important we have continuity of services.

“But given the pressure on that service and the outcome of the report, it’s important we take time to make right long-term decision.

“The only thing we can do is to pause and make sure support is there for families and children.”

The third part of the CQC’s report, focusing specially on the care available to Valdo Calocane, will be published in the summer.

The CQC expressed concerns that people might hurt themselves or others while waiting for mental health care.

Rampton Hospital, a secure Nottinghamshire psychiatric hospital run by the trust, was improving but not quickly enough, the report also found.

Becky Sutton, Chief Operating Officer of Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “Our healthy family teams support the health and wellbeing of children, young people, and families across Nottinghamshire. We provide an invaluable service, which is well established and well-received.

“We look forward to working with our partners in the Council over the coming months so together we can build on the great work in progress and achieve our collective ambition to further grow and develop the offer to children and families across Nottinghamshire.”

Ifti Majid, the Chief Executive of the trust, said he was “truly sorry” for failings highlighted in the report.

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