CQC inspectors return to region’s struggling mental health trust

Antek Lejk, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

Antek Lejk, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Inspectors have returned to the region's struggling mental health trust to find out how the service has progressed since May.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is currently undertaking a two-week comprehensive inspection of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

It comes after the trust was judged inadequate and placed into special measures in 2017.

NSFT chief executive Antek Lejk said the trust was looking forward to demonstrating the progress it had made.

An unannounced inspection by the health watchdog in May this year found improvements had been made to NSFT.

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But in a report released in August, it raised concern about the slow 'pace of change' in regard to certain issues at the trust.

The CQC recognised some of its recommendations had been put in place, including making sure staff had access to alarms, and a plan was in place to stop wards being mixed sex.

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Some progress had also been made in recruiting staff, and both staffing and bed levels were found to be sufficient.

But the report found staffing in the community mental health teams was still lacking, although the trust said they had since seen improvement.

The report also found 13pc of patients across the trust did not have a care coordinator.

CQC's latest inspection began on Monday, September 3.

Mr Lejk said: 'We fully welcome the CQC inspectors into our trust and we look forward to demonstrating the progress we have continued to make to improve the quality of our services since the CQC's unannounced inspection in May.

'It was heartening that the report following that unannounced visit acknowledged the improvements our trust has made in many areas.

'It also helped us to continue to sharpen our focus on our ongoing quality improvement programme in the run-up to this full inspection.

'Our priority remains addressing any safety and quality issues while other challenges, such as staffing, cannot be resolved overnight and are being addressed over a longer period of time.

'But we're not complacent and, in the meantime, we continue to put in actions and mitigations to safely manage these issues.'

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