The NHS trust that runs mental health services in Brighton and Hove has been rated as good overall in an official inspection.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Mill View Hospital in Hangleton, was also rated as outstanding for caring – one of five key areas.
The inspection findings were published in a report this morning by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The trust’s ratings have improved since it was rated as “requires improvement” in 2015 after an inspection three years ago.
Today the CQC said: “England’s chief inspector of hospitals has found improvement in the quality of services for patients during the latest inspection of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
“As a result of the inspection, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is now rated as good.”
Good is the second best of four ratings, with outstanding the best. Requires improvement is the third best and the worst is inadequate.
The report published today (Tuesday 23 January) is the first one in the past few years to rate Sussex Partnership as good overall.
A team of CQC inspectors visited the trust unannounced between September and December to check the quality of four core services
- acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units
- wards for older people with mental health problems
- community-based mental health services for adults of working age
- specialist community mental health services for children and young people
The CQC said: “All are now rated as good.”
The CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well led?
As a result the overall rating – headed by new chief executive SAM Allen – is now good, with caring rated outstanding.
The deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Paul Lelliott, who is also the CQC’s lead for mental health, said: “Previously we rated services at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as requires improvement.
“I am delighted that the trust has taken to heart the findings from that and built on them to improve.
“We have found that the trust board and senior leadership team has put its clear vision and values at the heart of the organisation, working hard to make sure staff at all levels understood how this relates to their daily roles.
“During this inspection we have found examples of good practice in all core services we inspected.
“In particular we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of care. Services are more flexible and highly personalised to meet patients’ individual needs.
“I congratulate all concerned on the positive changes that we have found.”
The CQC said: “Inspectors found that recent changes to the board had brought a fresh and innovative approach to the leadership and direction of the trust.
“They were supported by an experienced team of non-executive directors who brought an appropriate range of skills, knowledge and experience to perform their role.
“Some wards had implemented a model of team management that encouraged staff and patients to be leaders in the roles they had on the ward.
“For example, patients were referred to as service leaders, not patients. Service leaders had a role in contributing to how their ward was run and their views were welcomed at daily and weekly community and risk management meetings.
“In Sussex, the child and adolescent mental health teams had recently conducted a project in which the urgent help team completed telephone assessments of patients to reduce the waiting lists for assessment and get patients directly onto specific treatment pathways.
“The trust had also introduced a team of dedicated family liaison leads who led on the investigation of serious incidents and worked with bereaved families during this process. This was the first trust in the country to implement this team.
“Inspectors found in wards for older people with mental health problems there was some improvements to patient safety and experience on admission to the ward.
“This involved the ward manager or matron visiting the person in their home prior to admission to carry out a falls risk assessment and meet with the family to gain as much information as possible about the person.”
Full reports, including ratings for all of the trust’s core services, can be found at http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RX2.