Advising with empathy and experience

Grieving mother abused by Trust employee.

A woman who left an abusive message on the voicemail of a grieving mother works at the NHS trust in charge of the mental health unit where her son died, police have confirmed.

The grieving mother was Sara Ryan who has campaigned for changes at Southern Health since her son, Connor Sparrowhawk, drowned in a bath in 2013.

Thames Valley Police said the caller, who called Dr Ryan a "vindictive" and a "nasty cow", had been given a warning.

Southern Health said the member of staff was being dealt with internally. A spokesman said the trust was taking the matter "very seriously" and dealing with the employee, whose name has not been disclosed, through a "robust internal process.”

Last week the trust, which has faced severe criticism for numerous care failings, admitted full responsibility for the teenager's death.

The recording was left on Dr Ryan's answerphone in May, on the same day that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued a report criticising the trust for "continuing to put patients at risk."

The caller told Dr Ryan: "You know as much as anyone else knows that Southern Health only took over those units in Oxfordshire [in] the recent months before your son died.

"You know with your background it takes a while to make changes... and I think now... you want some attention, but you are vindictive and you are unpleasant and you are a nasty cow."

An inquest jury found in October that neglect contributed to the death of the 18-year-old who drowned after suffering an epileptic seizure while unsupervised.

In December, an investigation commissioned by NHS England found that only 272 of the 722 deaths in the trust during the previous four years were properly investigated.

Southern Health provides specialist mental health and learning disability services in Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.