A watchdog has told the mental health trust to make immediate safety improvements after finding out that users were at risk of harm following a recent inspection which rated them lowest in safety.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had inspected Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in April following concerns raised by a whistleblower. The CQC during its inspection found users and carers struggled to contact the service for support or during a crisis.
The Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust said it acknowledged the findings and will address the concerns.
The Health regulator said the trust which runs Prestwich Hospital in Bury, retains an overall “good” rating but its safety rating for mental health services has dropped to “inadequate” – the lowest level.
The CQC issued the warning about the trust’s community-based mental health services for adults after inspecting two teams and finding the following;
- Patients and carers could not contact the service easily regarding care and treatment
- The service had issues with low staffing levels and high turnover rates
- The Trust did not effectively monitor patients waiting for assessment and treatment or keep an up to date risk assessment
- Staff failed to consistently assess and manage risks as well as keep good care records
Earlier this year, the Trust was criticised in an independent review after it said that the fatal stabbing of seven-year-old Emily Jones by a psychiatric patient could not have been prevented.
Earlier in a confidential report in 2021, it had been noted that the Trust suffered staff shortages.
Brian Cranna, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said “managers supported and supervised newly qualified staff well and patients said the service was good However, people using the service and their carers also told us they struggled to contact the service for support or when in crisis. This left people at risk of harm as they had no way to tell staff their mental health had worsened.”
Chief operating officer at the trust Deborah Partington, said that the pandemic had led to an increase in demand for mental health services and that it was getting increasingly difficult to make recruitments and this has put pressure on the service capacity.
She added; “We will continue to work as hard as we can to improve our services for those who need us, and we would like to reassure people that service users in our care are safe.”
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