Major improvements of our services have been recognised in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report published today (Wednesday 31 January), resulting in an overall ‘good’ rating.

Between July and October 2023, inspectors from the CQC completed inspections of our 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.

Findings have led to the Trust being upgraded to ‘good’, from a previous grading of ‘requires improvement’. The overall rating reflects the hard work of colleagues over a number of years and the improvement journey the Trust is on, seeing a reduction in waiting times for community mental health services for adults and a significantly improved crisis service.

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 how well-led the Trust is, assessing the strength of leadership, management and governance. This was ranked as ‘good’, as was how caring and responsive we are.

Our Chief Executive Officer, 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, which, through working with other partners, has been transformed, with the introduction of the Initial Response Service and the formation of Street Triage teams, delivered with police officers. As a result, there has been a reduction in referrals to home-based treatment teams.   

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

  • Leaders are experienced, visible and approachable
  • The Trust has a clear vision and strategy
  • There is a strong ‘freedom to speak up’ process
  • Staff equality networks had been successfully implemented and supported
  • Staff are able to work flexibly, supporting retention and shows how the workforce is valued
  • A clear approach to quality improvement which involved staff at all levels

CEO Chris Oliver, added:

“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 we are progressing.

Other areas we are working to improve are:

  • More nurses and staff are needed in some teams, which is being addressed through recruitment.
  • Higher than expected out of area placements and an increase in demand for adult community based mental health services. Inspectors did, however, note improvements in this area since their previous visit, which include a transformation programme planned across the adult mental health acute care pathway.

Chair of our 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), added:

“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.”

The report can be read in full on the CQC website