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Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust remains in special measures after CQC inspection by chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will remain in special measures despite having made improvements, England’s chief inspector of hospitals has said.

The trust was rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission in 2015 and placed in special measures. After coming out of special measures the following year, it was placed back in them in 2017.

Following inspections which took place between October 7 and November 6 last year, the trust was brought up to a rating of ‘requires improvement’ after Professor Ted Baker said improvements had been made ‘in several areas’.

Care Quality Commission (26740851)
Care Quality Commission (26740851)

“We found that, although some of the concerns had not fully been addressed, there had been a shift in approach and foundations had been laid to improve the direction of travel,” he said. “Most staff inspectors spoke with felt more listened to, empowered and believed the trust is moving forwards.”

The report said some aspects of the trust were found to be ‘outstanding’, including a quality improvement programme and the employment of liaison staff in GP surgeries.

But Prof Baker added that ‘more work still needs to be done’ to get the trust out of special measures.

The trust has been told it must improve in areas such as patient risk assessments and care plans, waiting lists and staff numbers.

It was also asked to ‘ensure that the internal and external environments of the learning disability inpatient service are clean, secure, maintained and suitable’ and that ‘contemporaneous records are kept for people who use health-based places of safety’.

“The trust leadership is aware of the areas where improvements are needed,” said Prof Baker.

“We have called upon NHS Improvement to continue to support the trust to make the necessary improvements outlined at our inspection. We will continue to monitor the trust closely and this will include further inspections.”

Jonathan Warren, NSFT chief executive, said: “This is a move in the right direction and is down to the hard work and dedication of staff. We are also starting to see some of the improvements we are putting in place come to fruition.

“However, we are under no illusions and recognise that the next 12 months and beyond are crucial in not only fully embedding changes already made, but in building upon them so that next time we are inspected, we have shown further significant improvement.”

He added that the trust are working with an improvement plan which will now be ‘refreshed and informed’ to reflect the trust’s priorities over the coming months.

“Our ambition remains to deliver high quality and effective services for our patients and be in the top quarter of mental health trusts for quality and safety by 2023 and the CQC confirms we have made a good start.”

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