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The Care Quality Commission has told North East London NHS Foundation Trust that it must make immediate improvements following its latest inspection.
Inspectors visited the trust during May and June and have deemed the trust as requiring improvements, having previously been rated Good overall.
Key areas of focus for improvement include: a continued focus on staff engagement and improving the staff experience for some professional groups; pressure on the acute inpatient mental health pathway and impacts on quality and safety of patient care as a result; workforce challenges particularly in Kent Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the acute inpatient mental health care pathway; and improving the cohesion in the senior executive leadership team.
Oliver Shanley, interim NELFT chief executive, said: “This is disappointing news for us given our previous rating of ‘Good’. However as an organisation focused on continuous improvement it offers us an opportunity to reflect and take forward learning and good practice across the trust. The CQC have said the inspection was ‘one of great contrast’. It is important to recognise no improvement journey is ever linear and although the CQC has highlighted areas for improvement, they have also highlighted many areas of good practice.
“I know this news will be disappointing for our staff and stakeholders but I would like to reassure you we are already taking action to make improvements in the areas highlighted. Our staff are committed to delivering the best care to the communities we serve and I know we will continue to work hard on our journey towards delivering outstanding care across the trust.”
Jane Ray, CQC’s head of Hospital Inspection, said: “The inspection of North East London NHS Foundation Trust was one of great contrast. On the one hand we inspected some outstanding services that were going the extra mile to meet the needs of every patient. On the other hand, we saw services where the care was unsafe. The services for adults who needed acute inpatient mental health treatment were under extreme pressure. This impacted on the safety and quality of patient care.
“The trust had made some progress with many of the areas identified at the last inspection. This included an extensive consultation and the launch of the trust strategy which was now embedded into the ongoing work of the organisation. It was also good to note the progress with visits to services by non-executive directors with arrangements for them to share their feedback. Governors were offered more opportunities to be included in aspects of the trusts work which supported them to undertake their role.
“However, a combination of new concerns and previous issues still needing to be fully addressed meant the trust’s overall rating has moved from Good to Requires Improvement. We have made it clear to the trust where it must take action to improve and we will return in due course to ensure that these changes have been made.”
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