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Healthcare Commission to investigate mental health trust

The government’s healthcare watchdog has launched an investigation into services provided by a mental health trust following concerns about its handling of serious incidents such as self-harm.

West London Mental Health NHS Trust is to be scrutinised by the Healthcare Commission to examine whether it takes appropriate action to address causes of incidents and prevent them reoccurring.

Inspectors from the commission made unannounced visits to the trust’s sites on February 13 and concluded that internal procedures must be investigated.

Areas of focus will be patient safety procedures, how the trust investigates ‘near misses’ and how it learns from incidents.

The number and type of incidents in the specified time period and corporate governance are also within the investigation's terms of reference.

The trust employs 3,800 staff across 32 sites and provides care for 18,000 patients of all ages across the London boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow, Hammersmith and Fulham.

Nigel Ellis, the commission’s head of investigations, said: ‘We are not saying the services provided by the trust are unsafe. If we believed they were unsafe we would take immediate action. But we have a duty to patients to be certain that all necessary systems are in place.’


Readers' comments (3)

  • In my experience, Acute Mental Health services tend to operate autonimously and without due regard for community based services who regularly call on a primary care trust for help and support over violent/disturbed individuals. I have had to plead with admission wards and social workers to get patients admitted who show a predicted escalation of behavior usually culminating in aggressive outbursts and injuries to staff and other residents. When they are eventually admitted for assessment and close observation the care they receive is woefully inadequate and they can't wait to get back to us, usually with significant weight loss and no discernible change in behaviour.

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  • I do not think that nurses are treated fairly as they are not valued enough as should be. You expect them to be a caring and high evidence based professional, expecting high demand and expertations from them. Yet find it difficult to pay them for thieir hard work, and patient quality care, which is spose to be at the front of all expectations. Yet you forget that nurses are not valued and paid for the hard work they put in and along with the increase in inflaction or in line with other professional eg the police or fire. We need to be recogsied and treated equaly across the board.

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  • Working in mental health services should not mean that they are exempt from scrunity and i believe it can only help services particularly if you are addressing near misses and serious incidents. Working on acute wards i have been involved in having to investigate incidents and internally we have improved how we have shared the learning from these events. It cannot be seen as a negative experience if it improves the service and experience for service users and improves the working life of staff.

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