Mental Health

15.03.18

CQC calls for improved leadership in mental health review

Strong leadership is vital to deliver improvements in mental health trusts, according to the CQC.

The commission has today published a report exploring how seven NHS mental health trusts have made significant improvements in the quality of care.

It found that there were common themes driving improvement across the featured trusts, with strong, visible and listening leadership being vital.

Inspectors also found that good leadership and good governance “go hand in hand,” and most of the trusts had made changes to their systems and processes to drive improvement.

The report features specialist mental health trusts that have achieved significant improvements on re-inspection, as shown by their CQC ratings.

The featured trusts were Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust (FT), Somerset Partnership NHS FT, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS FT, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS FT, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, Calderstones Partnership NHS FT, and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS FT.

For many trusts, a poor CQC rating was a stimulus for improvement, with CQC reports used as a ‘springboard’ to make changes.

The report found that good leaders engage and empower staff, and that cultural changes support improvement.

It notes the importance of an environment where staff feel empowered to speak up, as well as the benefits of looking outward, working with other organisations within the local health and care system and voluntary sector.

Good and improving trusts recognise that lasting improvement depends on organisations working together, as well as taking into account the views and experiences of patients and the public.

Dr. Paul Lelliot, deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said that it is “encouraging” that these trusts have demonstrated their ability to improve, whilst the mental health sector struggles with challenges including an unprecedented demand and workforce shortages.

He said that these trusts have improved because they have strong, visible leaderships that is compassionate and inclusive, which engages and empowers front-line staff, unlocking their full potential to develop and improve care.

"In this report, we give examples of how these trusts have worked hard to strengthen their leadership through training, mentoring and development; including through working with NHS Improvement.

“In particular, the report emphasises the essential role of strong clinical leadership that ensures that medical and nursing staff are fully at one with the trust’s ambitions,” he added, encouraging others to learn from the case studies to help them in their improvement work.

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