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London mental health trust told to improve services

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South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust has been rated as “requires improvement” overall after its inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of inspectors visited the trust, which provides services to a population of over 1.1 million people, during March.

“In some teams staff were not being supported with regular one to one supervision”

Paul Lelliott

They rated three services as “requires improvement” – community-based mental health services for working age adults and older people, and rehabilitation mental health wards for those of working age. Inspectors also highlighted three main areas needed for improvement, said the CQC report.

Most wards providing rehabilitation were not supporting patients to achieve greater independence, they said. In addition, across a number of wards and teams staff were not being supported with regular one to one supervision.

Meanwhile, administrative changes meant some patients were not receiving appointment letters, there were delays in information reaching GPs and staff at the trust were not able to access patient information needed for outpatient appointments.

In comparison, seven other core services at the trust were rated as “good”. These included acute wards and the psychiatric intensive care unit, forensic inpatient wards, wards for older people and children and adolescents with mental health problems, and mental health crisis services.

Specialist community mental health services for children and young people and community mental health services for people with a learning disability were also rated “good”.

Care Quality Commission

Dr Paul Lelliott

Paul Lelliott

In addition, inspectors judged that there had been significant improvements in the care delivered to people who had an acute mental illness.

While demand was still very high and “presented a daily challenge”, patients had an improved level of support to access the services they clinically needed.

Staff had access to a wide range of opportunities for learning and development, which was helping many to make progress with their career while also improving the care they delivered, said the CQC.

Paul Lelliott, deputy chief Inspector of hospitals and CQC’s lead for mental health, said: “There are some areas where we have asked the trust to focus on, including providing support to patients to achieve greater independence.

“In some teams staff were not being supported with regular one to one supervision,” he said. “Despite these areas for improvement there was much for the trust to be proud of.

Most staff said they enjoyed working for the trust, were caring, professional and in many cases innovative in their work,” he added.

“I am proud of what our staff have achieved and we will never be complacent”

David Bradley

Trust chief executive David Bradley said: “The inspection was tough but fair and gave us the extremely valuable opportunity to examine the services we provide and look at how we can make them better.”

He added: “I am proud of what our staff have achieved and we will never be complacent in making services better for our patients. We are very aware that there is a great deal of work still to be done.

“Building on the improvements we have already made in the acute care pathway, we will use the same successful approach for improving our rehabilitation and community services,” he said.

David Bradley

David Bradley

David Bradley

“We have already begun working at implementing robust action plans on the areas highlighted by the [the CQC],” said Mr Bradley.

The trust provides services for adults, older people and children and young adults across the five London boroughs of Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton and Sutton.

It also provides a number of specialist services for people who are deaf, services for people who have obsessive compulsive disorders as well as forensic and eating disorder services. People using these services come from across the UK.

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