Care watchdog monitoring Shropshire hospitals trust 'extremely closely' after taking further urgent action

A care watchdog says it is monitoring the trust running Shropshire's main hospitals 'extremely closely' to ensure patient safety improves.

Princess Royal Hospital, Telford
Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

It comes after the Care Quality Commission took urgent action to keep people safe following a focused inspection of children and young people’s services at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The inspection on February 24 was prompted by concerning information about the safety and quality of the assessment and treatment of children and young people who presented to the service with acute mental health needs or learning disabilities.

Inspectors found that children and young people admitted to the hospital due to a deterioration in their mental health or those with learning disabilities did not receive adequate risk assessments on admission.

In addition, there were no systems in place to ensure restrictive practices, such as restraint, were completed safely or appropriately.

As a result of the inspection, urgent conditions have been placed on the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's (SaTH) registration.

The conditions demand that the trust, which runs PRH and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, must not admit any new patients under the age of 18 who present solely with acute mental health needs.

It must undertake an immediate review of clinical records of all patients under the age of 18 who are currently admitted with an acute mental health need.

In addition, it must implement an effective oversight system to continually monitor staff compliance with safeguarding procedures, and ensure all staff are trained in this area.

The conditions require the trust to report to the CQC on a weekly basis detailing the action being taking.

Ted Baker, the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, said: “When young people with mental health needs or learning disabilities receive care in an acute setting, all possible steps must be taken to ensure the environment is a safe one for them.

“The provision of safe care for vulnerable young people on acute wards is an issue we have previously raised in our inspections of acute trusts. We are working with NHS England and Improvement to support all trusts to deliver safe care in these circumstances.

Addressing

“On this occasion, when inspectors visited the children and young people’s services at SaTH, they found concerns that urgently needed addressing.

“This is why we have imposed urgent conditions on the trust’s registration requiring immediate action to keep patients safe and ensure staff are supported with appropriate training.

“Following the inspection, the trust has been receiving safeguarding advice and expertise from the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust which it has an improvement alliance with.

“The trust is also working with system partners locally to identify what wider action may be required to improve the provision of care for children and young people with mental health needs more broadly across the area and we encourage these discussions.

“We are monitoring the trust extremely closely and continue to work with system partners to ensure patient safety improves. We will return to check whether sufficient improvements have been made and will take further action if needed.”

Following the inspection, the trust was told to make several urgent improvements, including in areas of training.

Following the targeted inspection, the overall rating for children and young people’s services went down from 'requires improvement' to 'inadequate'.

The service was also rated 'inadequate' for being safe, responsive, effective and well-led.

The overall trust rating remains as 'inadequate'.

A report to SaTH's board, which met online earlier this month, said the trust had complied with instructions from the CQC and was working with other organisations.

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