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Safety fears prompt NHS trusts to support troubled independent provider

Five East Midlands trusts are working with the country’s largest independent mental health provider in a bid to improve service quality, amid concerns patient safety would have been put at risk if they had not stepped in.

This move follows the Care Quality Commission (CQC) placing conditions on the registration of St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton in July and August last year after inspectors found patients were not given appropriate care in a safe environment.

The service could not admit any new patients into forensic, long-stay rehabilitation wards and the wards for people with a learning disability at the women’s service and to the wards for people with a learning difficulty at the men’s service, without consent from CQC following the inspection report. This restriction was lifted in May this year. 

Following the inspection, five local community and mental health trusts have “buddied up” to provide “targeted support” to improve the care quality provided by the charity provider. The programme is being co-ordinated by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.

Angela Hillery, chief executive of NHFT and Leicestershire Partnership Trust, told HSJ there was an “overwhelming” agreement amongst the pre-existing East Midlands alliance of trusts that they should work with St Andrew’s, which “clearly had an improvement journey to make”.

Ms Hillery said: “If we were not going to help, the risk was to our patients. [The initiative] was driven from us to say, ‘these are our patients and why wouldn’t we want to support each other as I know St Andrew’s would support us in the same situation.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 18 August 2022


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