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Specialist mental health service out of 'special measures'

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The Care Quality Commission has announced it is removing a mental health service in Birmingham from “special measures”, following significant improvements in care and a change in its designated purpose.

The CQC inspected the specialist mental health unit in August 2015 when it was called Harriet Tubman House.

“All of the staff should be proud of what they have achieved”

Paul Lelliott

At that time, its purpose was to provide care and treatment to women of working age with a mental illness. Following the inspection, it was rated “inadequate” and placed in the special measures support regime for failing services.

The service’s provider, Options for Care Ltd, took the decision to voluntarily close the unit to undertake a full refurbishment.

It also changed the unit’s role to providing care for men and reopened it as Dartmouth House in July 2016.

It is now an independent, long stay rehabilitation unit, providing care for up to 16 men of working age. It is registered to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to people detained under the Mental Health Act.

The latest visit took place in October 2016 and found the service had addressed all areas of previous concern. It was awarded an overall rating of “good” across all five of the CQC’s inspection domains –being responsive, well-led, effective, safe and caring.

Inspectors found that since the original inspection Dartmouth House had taken significant steps to improve leadership, with a focus on improving the quality and safety of its services to patients.

Care Quality Commission

Dr Paul Lelliott

Paul Lelliott

Examples of good practice, included that patients spoke positively about staff and the care and support they received, and staff showed good knowledge of the patients’ needs.

Patients also had access to a wide range of skilled staff including nurses, healthcare assistants, psychologists and activities coordinators, said the regulator in its latest report.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and mental health lead, said: “It is clear Dartmouth House took our findings seriously and has worked hard to implement the necessary changes.

“All of the staff should be proud of what they have achieved and I applaud the dedication and commitment they have shown to improving the care of their patients,” he said.

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