Wards for older people with mental health problems at a south London health trust have been rated Good overall by the Care Quality Commission.
The wards at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) were rated Good for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led. They were rated Requires Improvement for being safe, after the inspection in March 2017.
The wards had addressed issues that had caused CQC to rate effective, caring and responsive as Requires Improvement following an inspection in September 2015.
Improvements made included better hygiene in some toilet areas, improved wheelchair maintenance and better availability of medicines on some wards where previously they had not always been available.
At the recent inspection, dementia training was being provided. Staff displayed a good understanding of meeting the needs of patients with dementia. The trust had also taken steps to recruit more staff.
There was an improvement in the recording of patients’ and carers’ involvement in care planning and assessments.
CQC inspectors observed that the vast majority of staff supported patients in a caring way, including at mealtimes. The meal experience had improved, and some patients were involved in setting tables.
The trust encouraged a patient and carer advisory group, which had the opportunity to review current practice, recruitment and staff training.
However, there were gaps in mandatory training for staff in areas including life support and fire safety. Staff had no records of blind spots on wards, to help ensure they paid particular to these risk areas. Inspectors observed two occasions when staff carried out clinical observations in a communal area, without giving patients the option of doing this in a private area.
The trust must now
• Ensure that all staff receive current training in life support and fire safety.
Recommendations were made for improvement in other areas including, physical monitoring of patients, records of blind spots, monitoring of staff supervision, arrangements for privacy, access to laundry facilities, and accessible menus.
Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health) said: “It is encouraging to see improvement on wards for older people with mental health problems at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, with an overall rating of Good. There have been improvements since our last inspection in 2015.
“However, there are still areas where there could be further improvement, especially in areas of safety.”