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Mental health trust told to improve on staffing and safety

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The Care Quality Commission has published its first report on a mental health trust that has undergone its new inspection model.

The CQC today published a report on the quality of care provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

Overall, it concluded that the trust provided some good and outstanding mental health services. But there were a number of areas where the trust needed to make improvements, including staffing levels and patient safety, it said.  

“Some wards were poorly staffed and frequently used agency workers or non-permanent staff”

Mike Richards

A team – including CQC staff, doctors, nurses, social workers, commissioners, psychologists, patient experts and managers – spent three days visiting the trust’s hospitals and community services during January. 

Inspectors said that the trust must improve in a number of areas. These included the planning and delivery of care to meet people’s individual needs, and ensuring that people were protected against “unsafe or unsuitable premises”.

The trust was also told to ensure suitable storage, recording and monitoring systems were in place to ensure medicines are handled safely and appropriately, and that there were sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff “available at all times”.

Accurate records, containing the appropriate information about people’s care and treatment, need to be maintained and records must be securely kept, the CQC added.

Meanwhile, the inspection team found areas of good practice which included the trust’s specialist inpatient eating disorder service, the children’s respite services, Electro Convulsive Therapy unit and community services, which were all seen to be either good or outstanding.

Inspectors found good examples of multi-disciplinary partnership working that were person-centred and which planned for effective discharge from hospital.

In addition, school nurses demonstrated good partnership working with midwives, police and social services.

Children’s respite services benefitted from established teams which had a long–term relationship, good rapport and understanding with the children they looked after, the CQC said.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We found some examples of good practice in services at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust and excellent training for some teams. But there were inconsistencies and good practice was not always replicated across the organisation.

Mike Richards

“Staff employed by the trust were caring and committed and they interacted well with patients,” he said. “However, some wards were poorly staffed and frequently used agency workers or non-permanent staff, which meant the ability of staff to provide consistent care was reduced.

“Improvements were also needed with regard to the trust learning from incidents and communicating consistent messages to staff,” he added.

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