NELFT today, 26 August 2022, welcomed the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report into our services following the Well-Led Review earlier in the year. We are delighted with the new overall rating of ‘Good’ as this reflects the improvements we have made to move from our previous ‘Requires Improvement’ rating.
Jacqui Van Rossum, NELFT acting chief executive, said:
“I am proud of the dedication and commitment of all our staff who have been working hard to continuously improve the services we provide and this is recognised in our CQC rating of Good. We strive to deliver the best care by the best people and this is a significant step towards our overall ambition to be rated as outstanding.
“It is tremendously important for us to reflect on our achievements and improvements across the Trust, but I am conscious that we must also learn from where we can do better. We want to ensure we deliver consistently high-quality care across the communities we serve and we are continuing on our improvement journey.
“I would like to thank every member of staff who has helped us to reach this point, particularly through the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I know their passion for delivering the best possible patient care has now been recognised by our regulator.”
The CQC inspectors found the culture of the organisation much improved and staff spoke positively about the changes being embedded through the Just and Compassionate Culture Programme. Staff also felt confident to speak up should they experience any concerns in relation to patient safety. The CQC said that staff working for the Trust put service users at the forefront and demonstrated “tremendous enthusiasm, commitment and pride in the work of the Trust”.
The inspectors found improvements in way in which the senior leadership team was working together, visibility of senior leaders and the Board and the representation of allied health professionals at a senior leadership level (something the CQC commented on in the last inspection). The Trust’s continued commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion was also referenced in the findings.
The CQC also stated the Trust was fully embracing work with partners at a system and place level and recognised the Trust had “really stepped-up during the pandemic to meet the needs of local communities.” In the services the CQC inspected they also found that feedback from patients and carers was “overwhelmingly positive”.
As part of their inspection, the CQC visited our mental health inpatient services for adults of working age, our mental health crisis services and our specialist community mental health services for children and young people (CAMHS) in Kent. The CQC found “significant improvements in the mental health acute and crisis core service inspections” and recognised “work had taken place to improve the standards of care and treatment on the inpatient mental health wards.” Outstanding practice was found in the use of technology for prescribing and medicines management, positively impacting on patient safety. In community CAMHS the CQC heard that “staff were quick to respond in a crisis and young people responded positively to the interventions delivered.” The CQC highlighted the concern about the length of time young people were waiting to access some services.
Wellington Makala, NELFT Chief Nurse and Executive Director for AHPs and Psychological Services, said:
“While we have achieved a rating of Good overall, we recognise that we still have work to do to assure the CQC in the patient safety domain in relation to waiting times and the impacts of this in terms of risk for our patients.
“Waiting times for young people to access services is a national concern and we know the pandemic has also impacted negatively on this. We have been proactively working with our partners and commissioners to find ways of addressing this and managing any potential risk.
We are also working through a plan to ensure all teams are up to date with their mandatory training and are able to record this appropriately.
As an organisation focused on learning and quality improvement, we recognise the need to prioritise these areas and I am pleased that they are things we were already working to improve ahead of the CQC inspection.”
Sultan Taylor, NELFT acting chair, said:
“Moving from a CQC rating of Requires Improvement to Good demonstrates the actions we have taken across the Trust to make improvements. This is important recognition as it reassures our local communities that we are delivering high-quality care.
“As well as the incredible efforts of all our staff, I would also like to recognise the contribution of our patients, Governors, Board members, commissioners and our local health and social care partners, who have supported us to achieve a Good rating.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise the impact of our previous interim Chief Executive, Professor Oliver Shanley OBE and our former Chair Joe Fielder, who both had such a positive impact on improving the culture here at NELFT. This is work that both Jacqui and I have continued to embed.
“As acting Chair of the Trust, I am heartened by the outcome of the latest CQC inspection and look forward to ensuring that we work towards an Outstanding rating in the future.”
Jane Ray, CQC head of hospital inspection, said:
“Following our latest inspections of North East London NHS Foundation Trust, I was pleased to see that improvements had been made right across the organisation, and that standards of care for people had improved.
“This is testament to the hard work and commitment of staff and leaders, who have made great strides, even while dealing with the added pressures caused by COVID-19.
“We inspected at a particularly challenging time for the trust, but despite this we found the culture of the trust was much improved and staff felt more confident about raising concerns and having these addressed to drive improvement.
“People’s wellbeing was at the very centre of the care provided by staff, who were clearly committed to delivering the best service possible.”
You can read the report in full by going to http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RAT on the CQC website.