‘Health services must improve’ inspectors order Northamptonshire NHS Trust

Northamptonshire NHS Trust has been told by inspectors that it nust improve its services

Northamptonshire NHS Trust has been told by inspectors that it nust improve its services

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NHS services for people with mental health problems require improvement, inspectors have found.

More than a third of the services from NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare - which runs Berrywood Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital - were rated ‘requires improvement’ by CQC inspectors, including forensic and community children’s services. The rest were mostly ‘good’ with a handful of ‘outstanding’.

Although both patient care and leadership scored ‘good’ - and the CQC found no patients were placed in danger -the overall score rating was ‘requires improvement’.

The report says: “We found a great deal that the trust can be proud of.

“Caring was consistently of a good standard and we found staff to be dedicated and kind.

“Patients were treated with dignity and respect.”

However, an example of things inspectors found wrong was a lack of clocks in rooms where patients are placed in isolation. The trust said it is difficult to put clocks where they cannot be damaged or taken apart by patients, but the CQC said they are important as isolation becomes disorientating without a sense of time.

On the other hand, the Forest Centre for older inpatients was particularly commended for its state-of-the-art facilities, excellent use of therapeutic tools and the involvement of patients in their care.”

NHS bosses also pointed out that patient reviews on the ‘I Want Great Care’ website gave it a 4.8 out of 5 rating for good care.

Chief executive Angela Hillery said: “Our rating reflects the journey we and many other NHS trusts are on in delivering consistent quality care in the face of many complex challenges - this is the same rating achieved by two thirds of community and mental health trusts. However, it is important to note that no services were rated as inadequate in any area or domain and that is very positive.”

Chief operating officer Richard McKendrick said: “ We’re confident we’re moving forward in the right directions.”

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), Dr Paul Lelliott, said: “The quality of the services provided by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was patchy. We rated a lot of its service, particularly the community health services, as ‘requires improvement’. On the other hand we found that the wards at the Forest Centre for older people with mental health problems and the substance misuse service were ‘outstanding’. Overall, we found a committed and caring workforce and we heard a lot of positive feedback from patients and carers. We have told the trust that it must make a number improvements to bring its services overall up to a level that would earn a rating of ‘good’. In particular, the trust was not providing sufficient training for its staff and not ensuring that all staff received regular supervision. Also, clinical staff were not always maintaining high quality patient records.”