The Mancunion

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NHS Foundation Trust “requires improvement”

In a continuing mental health inspection programme, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) concludes that the safety and leadership of the North West’s Five Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust is inadequate

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A quality report has rated the Five Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (FBPFT) in the North West of England as ‘requires improvement.’ The FBPFT provides mental health and learning disability services across Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

The Foundation Trusts are different to normal NHS trusts as they are accountable to local people, who can become governors and members. They also have the freedom to decide locally, how they meet their obligations. The NHS states that they are still accountable to parliament, despite these freedoms, in order to maintain national standards.

The report, carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), identified that the most pressing issue was with its governance system, which had impacted on a lack of formal strategy and framework for delivering care in the North West.

A lack of consistency of care across the services was also identified by the CQC. It appeared that staff were not responding to incidents and complaints, meaning it was likely that the problem would reoccur.

The report noted that the trust had made efforts to solve this culture of apathy throughout the services. However, these attempts were still yet to create a new ethos that was truly embedded throughout the services.

Despite these shortcomings, Dr. Paul Lelliott, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and CQC lead for mental health) said:

‘The trust was doing some things very well. The trust had a high level of incident reporting, demonstrating transparency… Overall we rated nine out of ten of the core services as good and the forensic service rated as requires improvement.’

The report acknowledged the value of the trusts work with the community to promote “positive attitudes towards people living with mental health needs”. Dr Lelliott contended that the commitment of the trust to reducing the stigma of mental health would have a significant impact on people in the North West having to deal with mental issues, from students to the elderly.

The commitment and passion of many of the staff to provide good care was also recognised by the CQC, particularly the numerous ways in which some of the staff encouraged the patient and carers to be involved in the organisation and running of the trust.

The FBPFT responded to the report saying that ‘action plans’ were in place to tackle the inadequacies identified by the CQC.