Thursday, April 27, 2017
Mental health trust still ‘requires improvement’, say inspectors

Mental health trust still ‘requires improvement’, say inspectors

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The West London Mental Health Trust was found to be falling below standards by the CQC

The main provider of specialist mental health services in Hammersmith and Fulham has been rated as “requires improvement” following a review by care quality inspectors.

The West London Mental Health Trust was found to be falling short of standards despite efforts to improve services.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission discovered problems with retaining staff and providing enough beds on acute wards.

They also reported that some patient environments were of a “poor standard”.

The trust was rated “requires improvement” in four of the five key assessment areas but the CQC did recognise several areas of progress since the last inspection in 2015.

It noted better morale among staff and improvements in the reporting of serious incidents.

Jane Ray, the CQC’s head of hospital inspections for mental health, said: “We were able to see many areas of improvement. However, there was more to do and the changes needed to be embedded and sustained.

“We will be working with the trust to agree an action plan to assist them in improving the standards of care and treatment.”

The trust provides mental health services for around 700,000 people in Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow.

Its facilities include the Hammersmith and Fulham Mental Health Unit and a range of specialist community services in the borough.

Carolyn Regan has taken over as chief executive of the trust since the last inspection in June 2015, which found the safety of forensic services “inadequate”.

Ms Regan said the report highlighted “huge improvements” made by members of staff.

“We know, and the CQC have recognised, that our staff have made a big difference to our patients, service users and carers in the 18 months since our last inspection,” she added.

“But they also highlight that we are only part way through our quality improvement journey.

“We know there is more to do and much of what the CQC have highlighted we are already working hard to address.”

Ms Regan said steps had been taken to secure more staff in permanent posts and that building capacity in community services would alleviate pressure on beds.

But she added: “We need to be clear though, we know that for some of our challenges there isn’t going to be an easy win or a quick fix.

“Work is well underway to develop our CQC improvement plan that will see us put in place many more improvements over the next period.”

The trust came under fire over its standards of care following the death of Peter Docherty, who was knocked down by a train at Ealing Broadway station in January 2015.

A coroner’s inquest concluded last month that there had been a number of serious failings in the level of care he received.

Agata Usewicz, the lawyer who represented Mr Docherty’s family in court, said it was “shocking” that the majority of mental health trusts in England were currently rated as “requires improvement”.

She added: “The pressures on the system are immense, with cuts in funding and an increase in the number of people seeking help.

“It appears that a lot more needs to be done to ensure that vulnerable patients such as Peter Docherty are provided with the treatment and care they require and to avoid future deaths.”

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Mental health trust still ‘requires improvement’, say inspectors