Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust (NSFT) has been rated inadequate for a third time. When the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspect a service, they give it a rating.
There are four ratings:
Outstanding – Performing exceptionally well.
Good – Performing well and meeting expectations.
Requires Improvement – The service isn’t performing well.
Inadequate – The service is performing badly.
NSFT said it was disappointed but “determined to get things right”.
Inspectors found patients left unsupervised in segregation, a high proportion of urgent referrals downgraded unsafely and that unfilled shifts led to 139 incidents in six months. However, adolescent and child mental health wards were rated outstanding.
In its report, CQC said: “We saw many situations where people were not offered a service yet had been in significant need” & “Records showed that, in some cases, patients had self-harmed or taken overdoses whilst waiting for contact.”
NSFT is the only mental health trust in the country to have been put into special measures, a step first taken in February 2015. The trust came out of special measures in October 2016, only to have that status imposed again a year later.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is also MP for West Suffolk, said “all options” would be looked at to improve the service. “On the day of the publication of the report is not the time to make an immediate kneejerk response, but I am absolutely clear that we need to address it,” he said. “We need to absolutely get it right and I am going to do it.
Antek Lejk, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Our priorities now will be to resolve ongoing issues around access to services, waiting lists, care planning and staffing levels, while also making sure we have the right systems in place to ensure patient safety at all times.”
You can download the report here: Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust CQC Report (November 2018)