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Praise for staff at North London mental health trust

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Care Quality Commission inspectors have rated Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust as “good”, with particular praise going to the enthusiasm and caring attitude of its workforce.

Following an inspection in January, a team of CQC inspectors concluded that the trust located in North London has much to be proud of but also some areas that need to improve.

“Our inspection team was generally impressed by what they saw”

Paul Lelliott

Inspectors noted there were “many committed and enthusiastic staff” throughout the trust. They worked hard to improve the delivery of psychological therapies and provided innovative services and national specialist services to children, young people and adults in outpatient and community settings, said the CQC.

Inspectors also said they spoke with “very caring staff” in all of the services and teams they visited. Staff were clearly focused on and understood the needs of patients they worked with and the inspectors received a lot of positive feedback from patients and parents about staff, said the CQC.

In addition, there were several excellent examples of staff working in partnership with other organisations such as local schools, GPs and health visitors, noted the regulator in its report.

Staff received regular supervision, which they felt was of high quality. Staff described significant opportunities for further professional development.

They provided patients with good quality psychological therapies, which were evidence based, and some were undertaking innovative projects to enhance patient care or were involved in research.

However, the CQC highlighted that were some areas that needed improvement. The main ones were “sometimes poor” documentation in relation to risk assessment and risk management, and that patients did not always have clear crisis plans that could be found quickly.

Services were also struggling to implement the new electronic patient records system, noted the CQC.

For example, some services were keeping both paper and electronic records for the same patient and the paper records could be hard to read.

“It’s a glowing and accurate reflection of the commitment, professionalism and dedication of those who provide our services”

Paul Jenkins

In addition, the CQC said the trust did not always make the physical health care needs of patients a high priority and further work was needed to ensure all infection risks were managed appropriately.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “Our inspection team was generally impressed by what they saw. The staff were focused on their work and cared well for the patients in their care. The trust has much to be proud of.

“The staff provide high quality care,” he said. “The trust is a national leader in psychological therapies and some of its services are highly innovative. Staff were well trained and led by enthusiastic and committed senior members.”

He added: “There were some areas that required improvement. However, we are confident that the trust can address these issues.”

Trust chief executive Paul Jenkins said: “The inspectors were most impressed by how caring and compassionate our staff were in all the services they visited.

“We’re pleased to see this highlighted in the report as it’s a glowing and accurate reflection of the commitment, professionalism and dedication of those who provide our services and those who support them,” he said.

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