Mental health wards at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust have been rated as “good” overall by Care Quality Commission inspectors, marking a significant turnaround in its performance.
When CQC last inspected the wards in February 2015, they had rated them as “inadequate”. Since then, the trust had taken many steps to improve patient care 2015, noted the regulator.
“It is good to see that there has been such a marked improvement”
This time its wards were rated “good” for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led. However, they were rated “requires improvement” for being safe.
The rating follows an inspection in October 2016 when CQC inspectors visited the trust’s acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units.
The inspected wards are situated mainly in London but one of those inspected is in Milton Keynes. Those inspected in London are in Brent, Kensington, Westminster, Harrow and Hillingdon.
The CQC listed 12 points of improvements but also highlighted the need for further improvement on record keeping, reducing restraint and consistent physical health monitoring systems.
The CQC spoke to 123 staff, 89 patients, six managers, a carer and five advocates. They looked at 220 patient records and carried out medication checks on four wards.
Patients told inspectors that they felt safe on the wards, which were clean and well maintained, according to the CQC’s latest report on the trust published on Friday.
“This is really good news for patients and hard-working staff”
There had also been improved management of ligature risks and staff were now more aware of blind spots where they might not be able to observe patients who might be at risk.
Measures had been introduced to reduce the number of patients absconding, said the CQC, staff had completed the necessary restraint training and sufficient staff were on duty to meet patient needs.
Bed management had also improved considerably and was now closely monitored, noted the regulator, which added that patients were now able to make phone calls in private.
Dr Paul Lelliott
In addition, the CQC observed that multi-disciplinary teams were consistently and proactively involved in patient care, support and treatment.
However, the CQC still noted there were areas where the trust must take action to improve further.
For example, it must take steps to reduce the number of incidents of prone restraint and ensure that risks to patients are identified and that risk management plans must contain sufficient information.
The trust must also ensure that all records of physical restraint of patients comply with the policies and procedures of the provider, said the regulator.
Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC deputy chief inspector and mental health lead, said: “It is good to see that there has been such a marked improvement to the standard of care given to patients on Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust’s acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units.
“It is a testament to the hard work of staff that they have managed to move the rating of the service from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’,” he said. “We expect that the trust will continue to work to improve the safety and quality of care further.”
Claire Murdoch, the trust’s chief executive, said: “This is really good news for patients and hard-working staff. So much thorough scrutiny is a good thing but makes staff understandably anxious.
“The CQC got to see everything and we showed them our problems and our solutions, our pressures and our practice and they concluded we are ‘good’,” she said.
“The best organisations are open about negatives as well as positives; showing good practice as well as solutions to problems,” he said. “We accept there is more to do but this report shows we’re doing it.”