Community-based services for children, young people and families provided by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust have been rated “outstanding” overall.
Every part of the service, which includes health visiting, community nursing and therapy teams, achieved a rating of either “good” or “outstanding” from the Care Quality Commission.
“The children, young people and families service at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust sets an example that many could learn from”
It provides care for across Sandwell, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, Smethwick, Oldbury, Rowley Regis and Tipton.
CQC inspectors visited the trust in June, observing care being delivered in mainstream and special schools, clinics and in children’s own homes.
Staff were dedicated, professional and well supported and inspectors observed strong leadership across the whole service, according to the CQC’s report.
Staff told inspectors that they were valued members of their respective teams.
Care was child-centred and individualised and local and senior managers encouraged and supported staff to be creative with innovations in practice, said inspectors.
The CQC said it observed “excellent examples” where the speech and language therapy service had used innovative practice.
For example, a therapist had designed a “tactile cue” called TaSSeLs, which used touch to promote communication with children who had profound and complex learning disabilities.
Inspectors rated the service “outstanding” for being caring and well-led, and rated it “good” for being safe, effective and responsive.
The regulator visited the service as a follow up to a previous inspection in October 2014, when the children’s service was not rated during the inspection.
At the time, the trust received an overall rating of “requires improvement”.
CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “The children, young people and families service at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust sets an example that many could learn from.
“We found staff to be dedicated, kind, caring and patient focused,” he said. “Parents and carers of children and young people told inspectors they always received a good service.”
He added: “They commented that staff were always eager to help. I am sure that staff should be proud of their achievement.”
“This top-rating is a big step forward for children… and a measure of our team’s dedication and passion”
The report highlighted several areas of good and outstanding practice, including staff saying they felt empowered to be creative and continually strive to improve care and treatment.
Incident reporting and recording was encouraged and embedded across all services, and there was a robust process in place for staff to learn from lessons to minimise future risks to children, young people and families.
Trust chief executive Toby Lewis said: “There is no complacency but this is definitely a time for congratulations.
“This top-rating is a big step forward for children in the borough and a measure of our team’s dedication and passion,” he said.
“There is more to do to improve further, but this report tells of a culture which staff want to work in and in which local people should take pride,” he added.