Improvements found at Dorset Healthcare Trust

The Care Quality Commission has found significant improvement in the quality of services for patients during the latest inspection of Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust.

Following visits in November and December to inspect eight mental health core services and three community health care services, the CQC has revealed that the trust is now rated as Good for being effective, caring, responsive and well led, but remains rated as Requires Improvement for being safe.

Its report found that areas such as staff working with children and young people to create care plans that were meaningful to them, and a greater emphasis on young people being part of the community, had gone beyond the required improvements.

Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “I am pleased that the trust has taken to heart the findings from our previous inspection reports and built on them to provide improved services to the people of Dorset, particularly in child and adolescent mental health wards which we have rated as Outstanding. We have found a noticeable improvement in the culture across the trust, with increased openness and transparency and a clear desire for staff at all levels to learn and improve.

“Some concerns remain, including ligature points on some of the acute mental health wards which had not been identified or dealt with effectively and some medicines were not always being managed in a safe way at a small number of services inspected. However, we found a readiness to discuss safety, and continual learning was encouraged, with staff being supported to report incidents, including near misses. The trust knows what it must now do to ensure further improvements are made and we expect the executive team, with the support of their staff, to work on these on behalf of all of their patients. We will return in due course to check on the progress that they have made.”

Eugine Yafele, acting chief executive of the trust, said: “We welcome the report by the CQC and are delighted that our overall rating has improved to good, and we are particularly pleased that some services have also been rated as outstanding. This is great news for patients, carers, staff and our partners and demonstrates our commitment to delivering high quality care.

“We are extremely proud of what our staff have achieved and know that they will continue to support the trust on its improvement journey. We are ambitious and our aim is to be an outstanding trust – the CQC’s assessment helps us to focus on our next steps.”

Andy Willis, chair of Dorset HealthCare, added: “This is a testament to the hard work of our staff, and their desire to continually improve services for our patients. No organisation can change to meet the challenges of tomorrow if staff are not prepared to innovate and develop what they do. Dorset HealthCare has made tremendous progress in recent years, and we will continue striving to provide the best services possible.”

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