Dorset HealthCare has improved significantly, say CQC inspectors

13th April 2018

Dorset HealthCare has been rated ‘good’ by England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals after making significant improvements to the quality of services for patients.

A team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited in November and December to check the quality of eight mental health and three community health care services. They also looked specifically at management and leadership to assess whether the Trust is well-led.

As a result the Trust is now rated as ‘good’ for being effective, caring, responsive and well led, and remains rated as ‘requires improvement’ for being safe. Overall this moves the Trust up from its previous rating of ‘requires improvement’.

One of the big successes was a positive shift from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ for child and adolescent mental health wards, referring to the Trust’s Pebble Lodge unit in Westbourne. This is in addition to the Community Forensic Service, which was rated ‘outstanding’ during the 2015 inspection.

Inspectors found that staff had gone beyond what was required and were clearly focussed on wellbeing and recovery of young people. They were working with children and young people to create meaningful care plans and emphasising young people being part of the community.

There was also an improved rating of good for:

  • Community mental health services for adults and for older people
  • Community health services for children and young people and
  • Community health inpatient services

On wards for end of life care, inspectors identified a more open and transparent culture, with a positive impact on patient care and staff morale.

They also found that the Trust’s Board and senior leadership team had a clear vision and set of values which centred around the key principle of continuous improvement.

Areas which still needed improvements included:

  • Ligature points at some acute mental health wards and
  • Some aspects of medicines management

However inspectors found that the Trust was keen to discuss and address safety issues and encouraged continual learning.

Acting Chief Executive Eugine Yafele said: “We welcome the report by the CQC and are delighted that our overall rating has improved to good, and we are particularly pleased that some services have also been rated as outstanding. This is great news for patients, carers, staff and our partners and demonstrates our commitment to delivering high quality care.

“We are extremely proud of what our staff have achieved and know that they will continue to support the Trust on its improvement journey. We are ambitious and our aim is to be an outstanding trust – the CQC’s assessment helps us to focus on our next steps.”

Andy Willis, Chair of Dorset HealthCare, added: “This is a testament to the hard work of our staff, and their desire to continually improve services for our patients. No organisation can change to meet the challenges of tomorrow if staff are not prepared to innovate and develop what they do. Dorset HealthCare has made tremendous progress in recent years, and we will continue striving to provide the best services possible.”

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “I am pleased that the Trust has taken to heart the findings from our previous inspection reports and built on them to provide improved services to the people of Dorset.

“We have found a noticeable improvement in the culture across the Trust, with increased openness and transparency and a clear desire for staff at all levels to learn and improve.”

The Trust is already developing an action plan to address the issues raised in the report and will work with the CQC to monitor progress.

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