A HEALTH trust fined £2m in 2018 after admitting responsibility for the deaths of two patients in its care, including an Oxford teenager, has made ‘significant steps’ to improve, according to a national watchdog.

Standards at Southern Health were judged to be ‘good’ overall following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October, the results of which were published today.

It marks a positive step for the trust, which was previously rated 'requires improvement' and has faced heavy criticism in recent years over patient care.

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Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, drowned in 2013 at Oxford's Slade House, which has since closed, after suffering an epileptic fit in a bath while left unsupervised.

The trust was ordered in March, 2018, to pay out over the teenager's case as well Southampton patient Theresa Colvin, who died in 2012.

Southern Health no longer runs learning disability services in Oxfordshire, with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust taking over responsibility for the provision in July 2017.

CQC inspectors looked at the quality of four core services –acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units, child and adolescent mental health wards, wards for older people with mental health problems and mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety.

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Dr Kevin Cleary, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said inspectors found a ‘really strong patient-centred culture’ with staff ‘committed to keeping their people safe’.

He added: “Patients’ needs came first, and staff worked hard to deliver the best possible care with compassion and respect. Inspectors saw many areas of good practice, with care delivered by compassionate and knowledgeable staff."

Dr Cleary said there were still some 'areas of improvement required' but there has been a 'significant' improvement in the services, adding: "staff, patients and the leadership team should be proud of the work done so far."

The CQC said Southern Health’s board had also taken ‘significant steps’ to improve the culture across the trust and had engaged with several families who had ‘not received the appropriate level of care and investigation into their loved one’s deaths’.