CQC’s Glowing Rating of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Via: skepticalview (flickr)

The NHS trust that operates mental health services in Brighton and Hove has been rated as good overall in an official inspection.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who are responsible for Mill View Hospital in Hangleton, was also rated as outstanding for caring – one of five key areas.

The inspection findings were published in a report this morning by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The trust’s ratings have improved in response to being previously rated as “requires improvement” in 2015 after an inspection three years ago.

Today the CQC said: “England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has found improvement in the quality of services for patients during the latest inspection of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.”

As a result of the inspection, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is now rated as Good.

A team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited the trust unannounced between September and December to check the quality of four core services:

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units.
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems.
  • Community-based mental health services for adults of working age.
  • Specialist community mental health services for children and young people.

All are now rated as Good.

Good is the second best of four ratings, with outstanding the best. Requires improvement is the third best and the worst is inadequate.

CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well led?

As a result the trust’s overall rating is now Good, with Caring rated Outstanding.

CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), Dr Paul Lelliott, said:

“Previously we rated services at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as requires improvement. I am delighted that the Trust has taken to heart the findings from that and built on them to improve. We have found that the trust board and senior leadership team has put its clear vision and values at the heart of the organisation, working hard to make sure staff at all levels understood how this relates to their daily roles.

“During this inspection we have found examples of good practice in all core services we inspected. In particular we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of care. Services are more flexible and highly personalised to meet patients’ individual needs. I congratulate all concerned on the positive changes that we have found.”

Inspectors found that recent changes to the board had brought a fresh and innovative approach to the leadership and direction of the trust. They were supported by an experienced team of non-executive directors who brought an appropriate range of skills, knowledge and experience to perform their role.

Some wards had implemented a model of team management that encouraged staff and patients to be leaders in the roles they had on the ward. For example, patients were referred to as service leaders, not patients. Service leaders had a role in contributing to how their ward was run and their views were welcomed at daily and weekly community and risk management meetings.

The Hampshire child and adolescent mental health team employed a dedicated innovation lead who had run some excellent events and campaigns within the service. These included the suicide awareness for everybody (SAFE) campaign and fit fest campaign to help young people get fit and healthy to help their emotional wellbeing.

In Sussex, the child and adolescent mental health teams had recently conducted a project in which the urgent help team completed telephone assessments of patients to reduce the waiting lists for assessment and get patients directly onto specific treatment pathways.

The trust had also introduced a team of dedicated family liaison leads who led on the investigation of serious incidents and worked with bereaved families during this process. This was the first trust in the country to implement this team.

Inspectors found in wards for older people with mental health problems there was some improvements to patient safety and experience on admission to the ward. This involved the ward manager or matron visiting the person in their home prior to admission to carry out a falls risk assessment and meet with the family to gain as much information as possible about the person.

At Ilfield Drive the team had developed a service to provide mental health support to armed services veterans. The service aimed to support their transition into civilian life, using specialist practitioners who had an understanding of military culture and what veterans may have been through.

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