CQC report: Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust improving but 'more work to be done'

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Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust has been found to be making improvements. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A troubled tust is improving but "more work needs to be done", according to a report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) made the judgements about Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust following inspections from April to June.

Inspections were carried out due to concerns regarding the quality of care being provided to people following serious incidents which had occurred in some services.

The inspectors were also there to check the progress of improvements outlined at a previous inspection, when some services were rated inadequate, and due to the potential high-risk nature of some of the services.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said improvements found in the senior leadership team and culture had impacted the quality of care, while services inspected were no longer rated as inadequate.

Staff were also found to be getting support for their wellbeing, however areas were still found where improvements were needed.

"The trust had a backlog of around 100 serious incidents which required investigation, which needed to be reviewed," Ms Dronsfield continued.

"This backlog delays opportunities for the trust to learn lessons and make improvements to prevent incidents recurring. Although, the trust is receiving some external support to manage this backlog.

“Additionally, people continued to wait too long to access some services. There were significant waiting times in child and adolescent mental health services and for neurodevelopmental assessments which is an issue nationally."

The unannounced inspections were carried out of four inpatient mental health services as well as a short notice announced inspection of two community mental health services. Inspectors also looked at how well-led the trust is overall.

Overall, the trust has again been rated as requires improvement as well as the ratings for being safe, responsive and well-led. Effective and caring have again been rated as good.

Ms Dronsfield added: “We did find some outstanding practice in wards for older people with mental health problems.

"Staff were involved in a pilot enabling them to develop better communication with people who lived with dementia. Everyone involved should be proud of their hard work and commitment in helping people living with this condition receive a high standard of care."

The report follows a number of incidents involving the Tees Esk Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Christie Harnett was in the care of the trust when she took her own life at West Lane Hospital. Credit: Family

Last month the trust pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment for two patients who died in its care.

Christie Harnett, 17, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and an unnamed patient took their own lives in trust-run hospitals.

The trust will stand trial over the death of 18-year-old Emily Moore, from Shildon, County Durham, who died in Lanchester Road Hospital, near Durham.

Bereaved families and former patients have been calling for a public inquiry into the trust's actions for some time and held a protest on the matter earlier this month to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Meanwhile, a coroner this month found there were missed opportunities to help David Stevens, who was under the care of the trust's access team and took is own life, though she could not say if his death was preventable.

An inquest into the death of David Stevens took place at Crook Coroner's Court this month. Credit: Family handout/ITV Tyne Tees

Following the publication of the latest CQC report on Wednesday 25 October, the regulator said the trust's services will continue to be monitored through further inspections.

Brent Kilmurray, chief executive of the trust, said: “We are at the halfway point of our five-year transformation programme and fully accept that further improvements are needed to get to where we want to be. However, we have come a long way in a relatively short space of time and this report demonstrates our continuous improvement.

“It’s pleasing that a running theme throughout the report is that our staff are kind and caring and demonstrate our values in the care they provide. The majority of our services are rated as ‘Good’, and elsewhere the CQC recognises that progress is being made.

“The report also acknowledges that leaders at all levels have ensured that improvements were made since the CQC’s last inspection.

“As with other trusts throughout the NHS, successful staff recruitment remains a pressing priority and is the key to us achieving all our goals."

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