Trust rated 'inadequate' by CQC
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Following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in October 2014 Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was given an overall rating of 'Inadequate' in the CQC's recently published report. The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services to a significant geographical location and the inspection revealed 'several areas of concern'. The CQC found that a number of improvements needed to be made in order to ensure that care was safe, effective, caring and responsive to patient's needs. Specific concerns regarding safety and leadership were highlighted.
Unfortunately it seems that a major cause for concern was the lack of senior leadership and very low morale among the staff at the Trust. I imagine a major contributor to the poor morale among staff is due to the unsafe environments, insufficient staffing levels and resulting patient safety issues identified by the inspection. Worryingly, issues were also raised regarding the practices of seclusion and restraint within the safeguards of national guidelines at the Trust.
I was very concerned to read that the report highlighted a lack of acute beds which means that clients do not always receive care at the right time, can sometimes be discharged too soon or are managed within inappropriate service areas. Not only does this place more pressure on limited community resources but I would suggest that this can lead to serious patient safety and welfare issues. It is sad that such inadequacies exist, and particularly so when the client-base that depend on it are among the most vulnerable in society.
Despite the umbrella rating of 'inadequate', I was however encouraged to note that the CQC also identified a number of areas of good practice across the Trust; in particular with regard to Dementia Support Services and the Child and Adolescent Community teams.
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