23rd Sep, 2019

Trust providing mental health services rated 'requiring improvement' after suicide risks uncovered for second time

Laura Kearns 18th Jan, 2018

HEALTH chiefs are not doing enough to prevent suicide by mental health patients in the district.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT) needs to make improvements after an inspection found concerns raised during previous checks had not been dealt with.

Locally the trust runs St Michael’s Hospital in Leamington, the Aspen Centre eating disorder clinic at Warwick Hospital along with local mental health clinics Ashton House, Orchard House, St Mary’s Lodge, Yew Tree House and Woodloes House.

Inspectors rated the overall service as ‘requiring improvement’ after they again found ‘ligature risks’ on mental health wards, which patients could use to hang themselves. The same risks were flagged up during an inspection in 2016, which trust bosses were told to correct but had failed to do so.

Following the most recent inspection the service was rated as ‘requiring improvement’ in safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness, but received a ‘good’ rating in the caring category.

Inspectors reported long waiting times for children and young people needing mental health services and those waiting to be diagnosed with autism.

They were also ‘seriously concerned’ 600 children and young people across Coventry and Warwickshire were waiting to have the urgency of their cases decided by mental health teams.

Meetings between the CQC, patients and carers, and watchdog Healthwatch Warwickshire flagged concerns about Leamington’s St Michael’s Hospital.

A CQC spokesman said: “Patients and carers had concerns about the quality of physical healthcare at St Michael’s Hospital, delays in diagnosis and treatment in child and adult mental health services, a lack of activities on inpatient wards and not enough staff to do the job. They also thought the senior leadership were stretched.”

Inspectors added staff had not all been provided with specialist training to work on wards with older people and dementia patients, and staff were not monitoring patients’ physical and mental health closely enough. Many had also not been trained in the Mental Health Act, which covers the care and treatment of patients.

But not all reports were bad – inspectors praised the kind caring nature of staff, and that some services went ‘above and beyond’ to meet patients’ needs.

CWPT chief nurse and director of operations Tracey Wrench said some concerns had already been addressed.

She told the Observer: “We are committed to providing safe and effective services to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire. Our staff are working extremely hard and we have taken comprehensive action to reduce the risk posed by both these issues across our estate of more than 60 buildings. These are significant pieces of work requiring extensive investment, and inspectors acknowledged the progress we have made.

“We have addressed those actions requiring an urgent response, and have put in place an action plan to address all the concerns that remained following this latest inspection.”

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