The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today (28 April 2022) published its report ( CQC report - 28 April 2022 [pdf] 1MB ) into services at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust following their inspection in November and December 2021.
Based on its findings, the CQC has given the Trust an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ with several improvements required to be made. However, inspectors also talked about “green shoots” emerging and noted progress and positive changes in many areas.
Trust leaders have pledged to build on the progress to improve services.
The CQC report details improvements the trust must make, including maintaining safe staffing levels, ensuring training is completed, and supervising and appraising staff to support safe and effective patient care. They must also mitigate ligature points and learn from incidents where patients were exposed to harm or the risk of harm and embed good governance to oversee performance and communicate priorities.
However, CQC inspectors also recognised the Trust as a caring organisation, rating the quality of care provided by staff as ‘good’. It noted the Trust’s leadership team had a “comprehensive knowledge of current priorities and challenges” and “positive changes in leadership and culture”. It found that staff were more engaged and were driven by a vision of what the Trust wanted to achieve for its patients and that this had improved patient care on wards for people with learning disability and autism.
The CQC rated care on wards for people with learning disability or autism, and community-based mental health services for older people as ‘good’. It recognised the positive impact people participation work has made over the past year.
Stuart Richardson, Chief Executive Officer at NSFT said: “We fully accept the areas that the CQC say need to improve.
“The people of Norfolk and Suffolk deserve good quality mental health services and we are committed to achieving this. People have worked tirelessly to keep services open during the pandemic and I want to thank all my colleagues for their hard work.
“We recognise that we have not made the expected progress in some key areas, and I am deeply sorry for this and the impact this will have had on people who need support with their mental health.
"We have already taken action that will help us improve, including increasing support and training for our staff, redoubling our efforts to recruit more nurses and doctors, and bringing services closer to people’s homes through our community transformation projects.”
Zoë Billingham, Chair at NSFT said: “NSFT wants to provide quality specialist mental health care. Where we have made successful improvements, this has been in partnership with patients, services users and of course our staff – and we must now replicate this approach in all areas.
“We now have a leadership team with clear and ambitious plans and changes in how we work across the health and care system means we have an opportunity to provide mental health services differently. We are determined to make the required changes with pace and focus.”
Ed Garratt, Chief Executive, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System and Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive, Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System said: “The two integrated care systems will offer increased levels of support to the trust so the necessary improvements can be achieved. Both systems are committed to and will continue to support the Trust on this journey of improvement.
“While the rating is disappointing, it is vitally important that we acknowledge the huge efforts of frontline staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and their care has been rated as ‘good’ by the CQC. Many of these staff have also been involved in the frontline delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“Both systems have a strong desire to bring about lasting and meaningful change to ensure local people have access to quality mental health care services in the future.”
Howard Tidman, Lead Governor at NSFT, said: “Our patients, carers and staff deserve better. As a Council of Governors, we have seen how hard staff are working and just want to thank them for all they are doing. We will work with the Trust Board to make the changes needed, so that we move forward positively, together.”