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28.02.18

‘Outstanding’ trust scolded by CQC for inadequate community mental health services

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS FT has received an unexpectedly poor rating for its specialist community mental health services, despite being rated as ‘outstanding’ overall.

The trust received that news today, prompting its chief executive Sarah-Jane Marsh to insist that staff were “determined to do better.”

Inspectors found that community child and adolescent mental health services were not up to standards, meaning Birmingham Children’s Hospital is now rated ‘inadequate,’ while the trust as a whole is still rated ‘outstanding.’

The report found that most of the recommendations from the CQC’s last inspection in May had not been implemented and criticised high vacancy rates and low staff morale.

“Overall governance within the integrated community services lacked coordination amongst partners and there were clear issues with data collection, monitoring of waiting lists, and allocation of caseloads, staffs understanding of standard operational policies and estates management,” it said.

“Data shared by the trust was at times contradictory and not always broken down between hubs and teams. The trust themselves had identified issues with data collection amongst staff and systems.”

In response, Marsh said teams at the hospital had been “working hard” at a range of improvements and was aiming to “put this right.”

“When we were commissioned to provide this ambitious new service in 2016, we always knew there would be challenges, in part due to the escalating number of children and young people in our city in need of mental health support,” she continued.

“Making the necessary improvements is proving to be a tough journey, and change will not happen overnight - but inadequate is not the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s way, and we are determined to do better with support from our children, young people, families, commissioners and partners.”

The trust is the lead partner in the Forward Thinking Birmingham partnership, which provides health services for patients under 25 across the city.

The consortium first began running mental health services for people in this age bracket in 2016 following a competitive tender process.

Top image: David Jones PA Archive

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