Staff have been praised for their efforts after Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust saw its Care Quality Commission rating upgraded from “requires improvement” to “good”.
During the trust’s latest inspection in September, the CQC’s team looked at 13 core services, including nine that needed improvements at the time of their last visit in April 2015.
“We were particularly impressed by the work of the staff training and quality academy”
They had previously found staffing was not adequate in some mental health services and there were “challenges” in community services, with substantive staffing levels not met in most children’s teams.
Following their latest visit, they said that, despite the staffing challenges the trust faced, there was evidence to demonstrate that services were committed to minimising the impact it had on care.
The CQC noted also a number of improvements since the trust’s previous inspection, including that arrangements for children and young people transitioning to adult services had got better.
The trust had also developed a specific sexual health training module focusing on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual patients.
In addition, the forensic service had established a gardening project in the hospital’s grounds called “grow your own”. It was available to schools and community groups as well as patients and staff.
“Our staff provide the best possible experience to the people that use our services”
Heather Tierney Moore
The CQC inspectors added that the trust’s care home support service team had reduced unnecessary hospital admissions by implementing a “hydration kit” that was nominated for a national award.
The trust had also developed a “safer wandering scheme” and protocol for people with dementia in partnership with the police, noted the regulator in its report, published today.
Overall, inspectors observed that staff treated patients with respect, care and compassion, communicated in a way that was appropriate to individual needs and that patients thought staff treated them well.
However, the CQC identified other areas where the trust needed to make further improvements. All staff must receive the training they require to carry out their role, said the CQC, and the trust must ensure the physical environment of one of the psychiatric intensive care wards is safe.
The specialist community mental health services for children and young people must also ensure all patients have a risk assessment.
Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector of hospitals and CQC lead for mental health, said: “Trust staff have shown a real determination to follow up the issues we had identified [in 2015] and they have made improvements across most areas.
Dr Paul Lelliott
“On this inspection, we found that they had a clearer sense of direction and was now more responsive to the needs of people using the service,” he said. “They worked closely with other healthcare partners to identify those needs.”
He added: “We were particularly impressed by the work of the staff training and quality academy, which is responsible for providing and monitoring all aspects of staff training and development. There is no doubt that this is improving the quality of patient care.
“We were impressed with the improvements we saw, and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust should be proud of their new ‘good’ rating,” said Dr Lelliott.
Trust chief executive Heather Tierney Moore said: “This is a fantastic achievement and is solely down to the hard work and effort that the trust has put into making improvements.
“Our staff provide the best possible experience to the people that use our services,” she said. “There are a number of times when the reports refer to teams and individuals that go the extra mile.
“The CQC reports also highlight the positive interactions between our staff and patients and comment on our employees’ kindness and caring nature,” she said. “This fills us with pride.”
The trust provides inpatient and community mental health services, and also provides forensic and secure services including prison healthcare in addition to inpatient and community health and wellbeing services for a population of around 1.4 million people.