Search

‘Tolerance of poor standards’ at mental health trust, report finds

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A damning review into the leadership at the region’s mental health trust has identified a “tolerance of poor standards”, it can be revealed.

NHS Improvement, the national body which oversees health trusts, ordered the report into Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in a bid to fix issues raised when the service was put into special measures last year.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) branded NSFT as inadequate in October for the second time in three years.

The CQC laid much of the blame at the feet of the board of directors and said they “had failed to address all the serious concerns that had been reported to them since 2014”.

And a new report by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), released ahead of a board of directors meeting today (Thursday), will again make difficult reading for those at the top who were accused of being too positive and quick to absolve themselves of responsibility.

Gary Page, the trust’s chair, pledged to “not shy away from these difficult issues” and said the team was “wholeheartedly committed to improving quality and safety”.

The PwC report said the board needed to recognise its “collective and ultimate responsibility for ensuring that standards are being met” and that there was “a tendency to externalise things away from the board, rather than decide on clear specific action or intervention to be taken”.

And it added: “During the board meeting we observed, there was a tendency to be too positive about action being taken to address patient safety risks. More objective consideration of why risks hadn’t been identified and addressed sooner would have been more appropriate.”

The consultants said the trust had “weak clinical leadership” which undermined efforts to make improvements and the board was not using information or data correctly to monitor quality.

And not enough attention had been paid to making cultural changes. Instead, the report said: “This trust has become accustomed to operating in a reactive manner”. It added: “The board’s focus has been dominated by the quality, reputational and operational challenges the trust has faced.”

There was also a concern staff “do not identify with a vision or a strategy for the trust and have become passive to affecting change or improvement”.

But the auditors also said non-executive directors provided “strong challenge”.

And the trust had developed an action plan, which will be presented today, to address the problems.

Mr Page said: “We welcome this comprehensive report from PwC, and we will use it as another extremely useful guide to help us continue to focus on our core issues, sense check our priorities, and put right concerns for our service users, carers and our staff.

“We will not shy away from these difficult issues and this is why the board worked collaboratively with PwC throughout the review process.

“We recognise many of the issues which have been raised in the report and have already started to address a number of these, setting them as priorities within our annual plan.”

Directors will discuss the report and action plan at a board meeting today, in Norwich.

The public meeting will be held from 12.30pm to 3.30pm at the King’s Centre, King Street.

Other news

Work to improve the Buttercross in Swaffham will modernise the town centre and bring it into the 21st century, the town council clerk has said.

13:41

EDP winners choose the name for zoo’s sea lion pup

08:55

In the latest of our profiles on the region’s Young Farmers’ Club members, SERENA CARTER explains how a busy barbecue season has made for a hectic first few months as an apprentice butcher.

Yesterday, 16:00

The Mayor of Watton has praised the community spirit of the town after her charity ball raised more than £4,000.

Most Read

Work to improve the Buttercross in Swaffham will modernise the town centre and bring it into the 21st century, the town council clerk has said.

Read more
Swaffham Town Council
Yesterday, 16:00

The Mayor of Watton has praised the community spirit of the town after her charity ball raised more than £4,000.

Read more
Watton
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An inspirational young woman who fought off cancer twice in two years and started a trust to help other young people live with the disease has died, aged 22.

Read more
Mon, 13:15

The magic of books was celebrated as the theme of this year’s Watton carnival.

Read more

An attempt to revive a Breckland heritage site has failed after dwindling visitor numbers forced the owners to close the attraction.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 12°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Watton and Swaffham Times e-edition today
E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Watton and Swaffham Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy