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CQC threatens mental health FT with enforcement action over failings

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Inspectors have called for urgent improvements at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust after finding it to be in breach of five essential standards.

The Care Quality Commission has threatened the mental health trust with enforcement action after identifying failings in care and welfare, staffing, safeguarding people, assessing and monitoring service provision, and suitability of premises.

Their compliance review, published today, found one seclusion suite was meeting neither environmental standards nor requirements of the 1983 Mental Health Act. Poorly-designed furniture posed a risk to some patients.

The trust’s Fulbourn Hospital was singled out for severe criticism, after inspectors found a bedroom with a heavily bloodstained carpet, and a bathroom containing discarded sanitary wear.

The report identified potential ligature points throughout the site, and described one patient as “very distressed regarding her environment”.

There was also concern over the numbers of staff and level of expertise in the trust, and criticism of incident reporting systems, which were described as “not robust”.

Frances Carey, regional director of CQC East, said: “The trust has already positively responded and submitted action plans which set out how they intend to meet essential standards.

“We will be monitoring this trust closely and won’t hesitate to use our enforcement powers if these improvements are not made swiftly.”

But Jenny Raine, the trust’s chief executive, said she was “extremely disappointed” at the severity of the verdict and claimed the regulator had not mentioned enforcement action during the inspections.

She said: “We have taken the findings very seriously and have taken immediate remedial actions. We knew that some of our ward environments needed improvement and this is part of an annual programme of redecoration planned before the CQC visits. Most of this work has now been completed.”

She added that the trust was committed to making further improvements, saying: “We know that we provide good mental health care and treatment.”

The CQC’s Mental Health Act annual statement for the trust, also published today, said: “interactions between staff and patients throughout all units visited were noted to be very positive, supportive, therapeutic and person-centred”.

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