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01.08.17

Birmingham mental health trust rating slips after latest CQC inspection

A Midlands mental health trust has been told to improve by the CQC after inspectors reported that standards had slipped from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

In a review of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS FT conducted in March 2017, it was found that while the services provided by the trust were Good for being caring and responsive, work was needed in terms of its safety, leadership and effectiveness.

Chief inspector of hospitals (lead for mental health) Dr Paul Lelliott also said that there was a disjoint between the board and staff at service level, as people at several staff levels reported feeling undervalued by trust bosses.

Significant concerns were also raised about safety of medicines, as the trust did not have a medicines safety officer in post.

“It was disappointing to see that the trust’s rating had declined from good to requires improvement and the trust must now ensure improvements are made in order to provide services that are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led,” said Dr Lelliott.

“The Board Assurance Framework did not focus on strategic risks and instead was an extension of the corporate risk register. This meant that the board were unable to provide robust evidence of an understanding of the trust’s corporate risks.”

However, CQC inspectors did find some areas where care was good at the trust. “We found some areas of good practice including the trust’s effective involvement with external stakeholders in the planning and delivery of services,” Dr Lelliott explained. “The trust had embarked on a partnership with other providers to establish a forensic pathway with support from NHS England. 

“Staff throughout the organisation, were caring, compassionate, kind and treated patients with dignity and respect,” he added. “Feedback from patients and carers was positive and highlighted the staff as a caring group.”

A number of areas have also been identified for trust leads to act on, including developing effective processes for recording information, considering using mirrors on wards with blind spots to mitigate against litigator risk and training staff about the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.

Chief executive of the trust John Short commented: “We are proud that inspectors found that staff throughout our organisation were caring, compassionate, kind and treated patients with dignity and respect and that feedback from patients and carers reflected this.”

But Short added it was disappointing that the CQC’s report did not reflect some of the positive outcomes of work the trust had undertaken to ensure that people in crisis received appropriate care – such as the fact that Birmingham is the only city in the UK where no person detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act was taken to a police cell over a 12-month period.

“However, we recognise that the CQC has identified some areas where we did not meet the high standards we set ourselves,” he added. “Since the inspection, work has already been completed in a number of key areas and is under way to address the other concerns raised.”

Top Image: Tamarind Centre at the trust. Copyright: Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS FT

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