CAMPAIGNERS have criticised board members of Southern Health NHS Trust for refusing to resign in the wake of a damning report.

An extraordinary board meeting was held in Southampton yesterday after the Mazars report commissioned by NHS England revealed 722 people with mental health problems and learning disabilities died unexpectedly under its care.

Representatives from Oxford charity My Life My Choice, which promotes the rights of adults with learning difficulties, were present at the meeting.

Trustee Paul Scarrott said: “It was a shambles. When we asked questions they didn’t want to answer; the whole thing was slack.”

Among the roughly 40 members of the public present was Dr Sara Ryan, whose son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at Slade House, run by the trust, in Headington in 2013.

An inquest in autumn 2015, which triggered the Mazars report, found Connor’s death had been “contributed to by neglect” on the part of trust staff.

Ms Ryan said: “It was obvious the public doesn’t have any confidence in Southern Health. The board presented an action plan, but it wasn’t good enough.”

She added that board members, including chief executive Katrina Percy – who was facing the family in public for the first time – repeatedly said they would not resign.

During the meeting, chief operating officer Dr Chris Gordon said a post-Mazars action plan was yet to be signed off due to “teething problems” in data recording.

After the meeting Mike Petter, chairman of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We accept the recommendations outlined in the report and have already made substantial changes to the way we handle deaths.”