Mental health trust gets ‘good’ in CQC rating upgrade


Between July and October 2023, inspectors from the CQC completed inspections of adult wards and psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs), as well as community based mental health services for adults.

Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety were also reviewed to ensure quality of care had improved since LSCft’s previous inspections in 2019.

The trust has being upgraded to ‘good’, from a previous grading of ‘requires improvement’.

A significant number of patients and colleagues were spoken to as part of the process, as well as carers or relatives of those receiving care.

Care records were reviewed and several direct practice sessions and meetings were observed, so staff could show how they work together in teams and individually, supporting and treating patients.

Inspectors , who visited all 18 wards and 15 teams across seven in-patient sites and five community locations, also looked at the strength of leadership at the trust.

This was ranked as ‘good’, as was how caring and responsive LSCft is.

Inspectors said: “Although we found some areas for improvement in leadership and management within some of the services we inspected, we were sufficiently assured of the trust’s overall leadership, management and culture following our trust-wide well-led inspection.

“The trust had a clear vision and strategy, understood by all staff and driven by the executive team.

“We were able to see progression towards the trust’s achievement of its strategic goals. Staff demonstrated the trust’s values in the care they provided.”

LSCft’s chief executive, Chris Oliver, said: “I am incredibly proud to see the years of determination, effort and improvements we have worked so hard to implement have been recognised by the CQC, which is down to our fantastic colleagues.

“Our teams have not only maintained a high level of care during a challenging period across the NHS, but they have also made things significantly better for our patients, showing inspectors how they deliver great care.”

The report noted mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety as outstanding practice, thanks to the introduction of the initial response service and the formation of street triage teams, delivered with police officers. 

Clear communication with patients, including keeping people up-to-date with their care plans and improvements to services were also captured in the report.

Chris said: “We have seen vast improvements which is great for both our patients and colleagues, but we are not complacent and recognise that we still remain on an improvement journey.

“We want to continue to offer an excellent service, with patients at the heart and we are also ambitious in our aims to improve health, offering the best care, while helping our colleagues take joy in pride in their work”.

“We are still digesting the report and will take the time to explore the actions now required of us.  We remain fully committed to delivering the best for our patients, carers and families.”

Safe and effective areas of the inspection were again rated as ‘requires improvement’, which the trust is progressing.

The report also highlighted some areas where the trust needs to improve, including recruiting more nurses and staff in some teams, which is reportedly being addressed through recruitment.

The report also highlighted that “people continued to wait too long to access some services”. As a result, high risk individuals were “unable to access an inpatient bed”.

The report said: “Waiting times for community based mental health services for adults of working age had improved since the last inspection however there was not enough nursing and multidisciplinary staff in some teams, and this impacted on service delivery such as waiting for a care coordinator.

“Current bed capacity within the trust meant there were high risk individuals who had been deemed appropriate for admission but were unable to access an inpatient bed.”

Chair of the LSCft’s board, David Fillingham, said: “On behalf of the Trust Board, I wish to convey our gratitude to all of the teams across the Trust who have been instrumental in getting us to ‘good’.

“On my visits across the trust, I am always impressed by the incredible work that colleagues do each day. It is their passion, teamwork, skills, and expertise which come together to deliver great care.

“At the same time, we are very much aware that there many more improvements needed and we are determined to keep on working to deliver those.”

Kevin Lavery, chief executive for the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the whole team at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust on achieving a good CQC report.

“This is an important step on the Trust’s improvement journey and recognition of the hard work that has been put in to deliver safe and effective mental health services for people across our region.

“By working collaboratively with our partners as a health and care system, we can help to support LSCft’s vision of being an outstanding provider, ensuring that every patient in Lancashire and South Cumbria can receive the high-quality mental health care they deserve.

“Well done to everyone who has been involved in this significant improvement and I am very proud of their achievement.”

Sheila Grant, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said: When we visited Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, we found leaders were passionate about the trust’s delivery of safe, high-quality care, and were aware of the trust’s challenges and risks.

“Staff told us they were proud to work for the trust, and during our well-led inspection, everyone we spoke to was positive about the leadership team. They also described an energy within the trust and said it was a happy place to work.

“We’ll continue to monitor the trust, including through future inspections, to ensure people continue to receive a good standard of care, and necessary improvements have been made in areas highlighted to the leadership team.”


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