Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has seen its rating revised upwards by the Care Quality Commission from “requires improvement” to “good”, after inspectors noted it had made progress.
The regulator concluded that a number of the trust’s mental health services had improved since its previous comprehensive inspection in autumn 2015, though staffing levels remained an issue.
“We have found all services to be effective, caring and well led”
Last year the trust was told that it must make improvements in three core mental health services for adults of working age – acute wards and psychiatric intensive care units, long stay/rehabilitation mental health wards and community-based mental health services.
Following a return visit in June this year, inspections found sufficient improvements in all three areas to justify an improved rating.
On the acute wards and intensive care units, inspectors found better management of risks to patients from potential ligature anchor points, improved assessment and management of the physical health of patients and the introduction of a fuller schedule of ward activities.
Meanwhile, in community-based mental health services, staff had improved the quality of clinical assessments and care plans.
Additionally, on the rehabilitation ward, changes had been made to bring it in line with guidance on the provision of same-sex accommodation, there were more personalised and holistic care plans, and unnecessary blanket restrictions and improvements in governance had been removed.
“This is a tremendous achievement by our staff”
The latest CQC report also highlighted areas of good practice found by inspectors, including that the acute service had recently worked to reduce the incidence of patients failing to return from leave by 80%.
There were also good links with the local charities Men in Sheds and Restore, which enabled patients to gain valuable skills and formal qualifications to aid reintegration into the community.
In community health, referrals were triaged, allowing patients to have options about appointment times and venues that suited their circumstances.
Dr Paul Lelliott
Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “At our previous inspection we found a variation in the quality of the mental health services. I am encouraged by the significant improvements since then.
“We found that generally the trust had taken action to identify and manage ligature points that could endanger people at risk of suicide,” he said.
However, Mr Lelliott said that, although the trust were trying to mitigate the issue, staffing levels remained “an area of concern and we still require improvement in safety”.
He added: “We have found all services to be effective, caring and well led. I anticipate that the trust will continue to work on those areas which require further improvement.”
Oxford trust given improved rating by CQC
Stuart Bell, Oxford Health’s chief executive, said: “This is a tremendous achievement by our staff, who have made further improvements in a short time and I’d especially like to thank our adult mental health staff for their contribution to this.”
He added: “I’m grateful to the CQC for offering us the opportunity to have the recent re-inspection.
“This has given us external assurance that our ongoing work to improve the quality of care for all of our patients is on the right path and we will continue our efforts to make this even better in future,” he said.
The trust provides community health, mental health and specialised health services across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, Berkshire, Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset.