Controversial Oxford mental health unit may never reopen

Connor Sparrowhawk

Connor Sparrowhawk

First published in News
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thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A CRISIS-hit unit for people with learning disabilities that closed to new admissions following the death of a teenager may never reopen.

But Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which ran Slade House in Headington, said it could re-open the unit to run it in a different way.

The unit, which houses up to 15 adults, was closed to new admissions in September by the Care Quality Commission after 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk died there.

Connor, who suffered from autism and epilepsy and was at the unit for 107 days, died after being found underwater in a bath.

Two patients have since left and the unit is now empty.

Seven members of staff are under investigation and the future of their jobs is uncertain.

Southern Health spokesman Emma McKinney told the Oxford Mail yesterday the trust was discussing options with Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Asked if the unit might permanently close, she said: “That is one option. Another is to look at how services are provided and do something different.”

Connor’s mother, Sara Ryan, is now running a campaign to raise awareness of what happened to him, which is called 107days.

She is also auctioning pictures by her son to fund legal representation at his inquest, due to be held later this year.

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