Mental Health NHS Trust issued with warning

An NHS trust that provides mental health care has been issued with a warning to improve patient safety.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published reports on two services run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, following an inspection in January.

The acute wards and psychiatric intensive care units were rated as requiring improvement.

AWP said it was committed to quickly achieving CQC’s requirements.

The NHS trust provides inpatient and community-based mental health care for people living in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

These services care for people experiencing mental health problems, including those detained under the Mental Health Act.

In response to issues on the acute wards, CQC served the trust a warning notice requiring it to improve the safety during care and treatment it provides to people.

However, the long stay or rehabilitation mental health wards were rated “good”.

The CQC said that the inspections were not wide-ranging enough to update overall ratings for the trust, so they remain at “requires improvement”.

The trust was last given an overall inspection rating in November 2021.

Serena Coleman, CQC deputy director of operations, said: “The acute wards faced significant pressure due to staffing shortages.

“This meant observations weren’t always undertaken often enough. This was worsened by some poor record management, and environments that didn’t always support people’s safety.

“While staffing challenges are affecting much of the NHS, leaders must ensure this doesn’t undermine people’s safety. We’ve issued the trust with a warning notice, so it’s clear about the improvements it must make in these areas.”

The trust employs more than 4,000 members of staff who deliver services from more than 90 locations for a population of approximately 1.8m people.

Dominic Hardisty, chief executive at AWP, said: “We are disappointed that the care in our adult inpatient wards did not meet the high standards that our patients deserve.

“Safety will always be our top priority and immediate action was taken to update our Quality Improvement Plans and significant progress has already been made to improve care.”


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