Local mental health trust rated as good

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Local mental health trust rated as good

The South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS foundation trust has been rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The trust provides mental health services in south London, including in Lambeth. Care is provided at four hospital sites with a range of local and national inpatient and community mental health services for adults, older people, children and young people, and people with learning disabilities and autism.

The CQC inspected six of the services run by SLaM. These were: acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units; forensic inpatient/secure wards; mental health crisis services and health based place of safety; community-based mental health services for older people; specialist eating disorder services and specialist neuropsychiatric services.

Inspectors found areas of good and outstanding practice, including:

Mental health crisis services and health based place of safety the trust introduced the crisis assessment team in October 2017. The team operated in a car with a mental health nurse and a police officer and went out to assess people in crisis in the community. 

Specialist eating disorder services staff had developed an early intervention service for young people aged 16-25 years experiencing a first episode eating disorder. 

However, the trust must improve some of the services it provides to the local community.  At the time of the inspection, adult patients from the local communities being supported on the acute care pathway, either as an inpatient or by adult community mental health teams, could not be assured of receiving consistently high standards of care. 

The quality of leadership at a ward and team level varied and was a key factor in whether the service was operating well. The trust was aware of these variations and that some leaders needed more support to enable them to deliver a high-quality service. The trust had not ensured that the necessary support had been put in place.

There had been breaches of fundamental standards of care on the acute inpatient wards, which had not been appropriately recognised and addressed by senior leaders in the trust.

Staff did not always identify and report patient safety incidents appropriately, which prevented them from being investigated in promptly and prevented staff from learning from them. Communication with wards and teams did not always happen effectively.

The trust had not been able to ensure that all acute patients had a bed to sleep in. We found some patients had slept on couches because there was no available bed in the trust. The senior leadership had been unaware of the extent of this practice.

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector (and lead for mental health) said: “I am pleased that South London and Maudsley Hospital NHS Foundation trust has retained its rating of Good overall. There are some examples of outstanding care at the trust.  However, whilst there is much to be proud of, the trust must work to address the serious concerns found across their acute and psychiatric intensive care services.” We will revisit these services to make sure this happens. 

Have you used SLaM services? Speak up about your experience here.

You can read the full report here.

About the Care Quality Commission
The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, caring, well-led, and responsive care.

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