Mental health services across Sussex have improved

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services across the county, has been awarded an overall rating of ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after years of failings.

This new rating follows an inspection of the Trust’s services in Autumn 2017.  The organisation had previously been assessed as ‘requires improvement’ in September 2016.

Sussex Partnership Trust is one of the largest mental health trusts in the country.  The Trust operates from over 260 sites including the community services and serves a population of 1.55 million people, employing approximately 3 800 staff.  There are 612 mental health inpatient beds.

The Trust runs the Dementia Research Unit at Crowborough Hospital and the Beechwood Unit at Uckfield Hospital.  The Dementia Research Unit at Grove House aims to improve the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by carrying out clinical trials.  Beechwood has 15 beds and provides short-term care for older people who have dementia.

Chief Executive Sam Allen said:

At Sussex Partnership, we value the CQC’s role in helping us improve care and treatment for the patients, families and local communities we serve.  I’m delighted we have moved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ because it reflects our passion for providing high quality patient care and working with carers, families and our partners to learn and improve.  I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in helping us do this.

I am proud to be part of an organisation providing outstanding care.  I am also proud to work alongside colleagues who come to work committed to helping people with their mental health and wellbeing and committed to the values of the NHS.

Last year an inquest found staff had failed patient Janet Muller, who escaped from Millview Hospital in Hove and was found dead in the the boot of a burnt out car in Crawley.

Interim Chair Richard Bayley said:

All the work we have put into responding to the CQC’s feedback is about providing people who use our services with the best possible care, treatment and support. As a learning organisation, this work continues, because we want to do the best we possibly can for patients and families. I want to pay tribute to our staff. The fact they have been assessed as ‘outstanding’ for being caring is testament to the fantastic job they do.

In their assessment of the Trust’s services, the CQC:

  • awarded an overall rating of ‘good’ based on performance in five domains: safe (assessed as good); effective (good); caring (outstanding); responsive (good) and well-led (good)
  • visited the Trust’s acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units and wards for older people with mental health problems; community-based mental health services for adults of working age; specialist community mental health services for children and young people
  • spoke with 134 patients and 65 carers
  • held 21 focus groups involving 192 staff
  • spoke with 280 staff in the course of inspecting services

The CQC noted:

  • Patients and carers all gave positive feedback about the care they received. They said they were involved in decisions about their care and that staff considered their well-being and experiences as a patient, as well as their physical health needs
  • ‘Outstanding’ examples of practice such as clinical leadership and service user involvement at Langley Green Hospital in Crawley; a focus on improving the safety of older people in hospital in Hove; physical health care support for people using mental health services in Brighton; a mental health drop-in clinic for young people in Hastings; and a suicide awareness campaign for young people in Hampshire
  • A new senior leadership team which has brought an “invigorated and open approach to the direction of the trust and culture in which the staff worked. Staff were excited about the changes and empowered to make improvements to their services. They also felt valued and felt proud to work for the organisation”.

CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), Dr Paul Lelliott, said:

Previously we rated services at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as requires improvement.  I am delighted that the Trust has taken to heart the findings from that and built on them to improve.  We have found that the trust board and senior leadership team has put its clear vision and values at the heart of the organisation, working hard to make sure staff at all levels understood how this relates to their daily roles.

During this inspection we have found examples of good practice in all core services we inspected.  In particular we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of care.  Services are more flexible and highly personalised to meet patients’ individual needs.  I congratulate all concerned on the positive changes that we have found.

One comment on “Mental health services across Sussex have improved
  1. As someone who needed help, what I got told was that I had too many issues to deal with. They don’t do grief counselling. And until my life got better, they couldn’t help me. Wow! Great support for someone who really, really needed it at a very vulnerable moment in my life.

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