Norfolk

Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust crisis care 'not safe'

Man holding head Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Care Quality Commission began its three-day inspection of two of the trust's services on 30 April

A mental health trust in special measures has been told its crisis treatment team is "not consistent in providing safe care".

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff told inspectors they were unable to keep up with demand and failed to visit patients as planned.

The trust said it was "working to improve quality and standards".

The trust was rated inadequate in 2017 and has been in special measures ever since.

The inspectors were told the crisis and home treatment team in Norwich was in the process of change and not consistent in providing safe care, while staff failing to visit patients as planned was a "daily occurrence".

Image caption The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is based at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich

High staff turnover, vacancies, staff away on courses and sickness all contributed to the high case load, the CQC said.

Staff at the Ipswich home treatment team told the inspectors they had an "unmanageable" caseload of 50, which resulted in care that was "variable and at times poor".

The inspectors said patients were seen face-to-face within the four-hour target and the trust had added extra support and resources.

The trust was told the service required improvement.

The CQC also carried out an unannounced inspection of the trust's community-based mental health services for adults and rated it inadequate.

The quality of its record keeping was criticised, and inspectors found out-of-date risk assessments and not all patients had crisis plans.

Trust chief executive Jonathan Warren said: "We're pleased the inspectors found some progress had been made in many areas and a sense of urgency about making improvements.

"We're already aware of the issues... and are working at pace with our staff and partners to improve quality and standards."

Some improvements have been made since the inspections, he added.

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