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CQC inspectors praise staff attitude at Berkshire trust

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Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been rated “good” overall with staff praised for their efforts, following its first comprehensive inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC inspected core services in mental and physical health at the trust in December, with 11 rated as “good”, one as “outstanding” and one as “requires improvement”.

“We found that community services for older people were outstanding”

Natasha Sloman

At opposite ends of the spectrum were community-based mental health services for older people, which were rated “outstanding”, and wards for people with learning disabilities or autism that were rated as “requiring improvement”.

In the learning disability inpatient wards, inspectors identified concerns about how people were observed, communication with patients and management of physical health care.

However, caring levels were highlighted as excellent in both end of life care and older people community mental health. Staff demonstrated that they went above and beyond the call of duty and patients made inspectors aware of this, said the CQC.

In addition, the regulator said the respite unit at Ryeish Green provided an excellent service for children with complex needs.

It was child-centred, well organised and staff understood the needs of individual children. Staff maintained an excellent standard of record keeping, noted the CQC in its report.

Meanwhile, inspectors identified innovative work taking place in the community mental health learning disability services to address emerging needs in the local population.

“I am extremely proud of all our staff, who have rightly been recognised”

Helen Mackenzie

Examples included a wheelchair prescription service that served profoundly disabled patients in their home rather than a clinic, and a planned project to socially engage them.

Street triage had recently been introduced in parts of the county to reduce numbers of people detained in police custody and also the number being nursed in the health-based place of safety, said the CQC.

It added that the “common point of entry” in child and adolescent community mental health services had recently extended hours to provide a more responsive service.

However, some areas of concern were picked up by inspectors, such as the management of mixed sex accommodation in the psychiatric intensive care unit.

In addition, within the older people’s mental health inpatient wards inspectors identified that not all staff were aware of the risks that individual patients faced, nor of the level of observation and support needed to keep them safe at all times.

Not all staff knew how to prevent or care for pressure ulcers and staff were not receiving regular individual supervision, warned the regulator.

Natasha Sloman, head of hospital inspection for mental health, learning disability and substance misuse for the South East, said the trust had “much to be proud of”.

She noted there were “many skilled and enthusiastic staff throughout the organisation, working hard to manage day to day care, while always trying to improve services to meet the needs of their patients”.

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

CQC inspectors praise staff attitude at Berkshire trust

Helen Mackenzie

Ms Sloman said: “We found that community services for older people were outstanding and that ‘end of life’ care services received a rating of outstanding in the caring domain. Both of these services were able to demonstrate excellent practice and innovation which went above the standards which are expected.”

She added: “The older people’s community mental health services were rated as outstanding, due to its work around supporting younger people with dementia and in supporting the relatives and care of people with dementia.”

This included the development of a dementia handbook for carers and an education course offered to relatives and carers, she said.

“Whilst most services were rated as good, the trust does have some action to take, but we are confident it will work to deliver those improvements on behalf of all of its patients,” said Ms Sloman.

Helen Mackenzie, director of nursing and governance for Berkshire Healthcare, said: “I am extremely proud of all our staff, who have rightly been recognised for the fantastic levels of care and professionalism they show on a daily basis.”

  • Berkshire Healthcare provides specialist mental health and community health services to a population of around 900,000 within Berkshire
  • The trust operates from more than 100 sites across the county, including community hospitals, Prospect Park Hospital, clinics and GP practices
  • Staff from the trust also provide health care and therapy to people in their own homes
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