David Smith is a Director of Making Families Count. He retired from his position as a vice-principal of one of the country’s leading FE colleges in 2011.
Months later, his daughter, Bethan, died whilst in the care of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Bethan was 31 years old. An inquest 18 months later found that whilst the Trust had not been negligent in its care of Beth, there were multiple failings on its part. Four Rule 43 reports (now referred to as ‘Prevention of Future Deaths Reports) were made by the Coroner.
In the subsequent years, the family battled with the Trust over its failings, an exchange which, over time, became more about its continual policy and procedural failings and less about Beth.
As part of their campaigning, David and his wife, Aldyth, attended an event in 2016 organised by the charity INQUEST on behalf of the CQC in its research into what became its report ‘Learning, Candour and Accountability’. The acceptance of this report led to the ‘Learning from Deaths’ programme, and David was appointed in 2017 as one of two family members with lived experience to the ‘Learning from Deaths Programme Board’. The task of the Board was to oversee the implementation of the CQC’c recommendations. The Board last met in July 2019. Its successor body was never appointed.