The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today (05 October 2018) published its report following the inspection of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust in June and July 2018.

The Trust was rated good for effective, caring and responsive, and requires improvement for safe and well-led, resulting in an overall rating of requires improvement.

Inspectors said that staff are ‘kind, caring and compassionate’ and are ‘respectful of patients’ personal, social and cultural needs”.  They also said that “patients and carers were positive about the care staff provided” and “carers felt they got the support they needed”.  They also highlighted that the Trust “involved staff, patients and carers in the design and development of services”.

Inspectors also said that “managers at all levels promoted a culture that supported and valued staff” and that staff “had access to support for their own physical and emotional health needs, including access to counselling and physiotherapy”.

The CQC inspected eight core services.  The report reflects the results of these inspections as well as the findings from the previous inspection in 2016.   Across the Trust’s 10 in-patient and community services, the CQC gave an overall rating of good for six services and requires improvement for three services.  The report gave an outstanding rating for community-based mental health services for older people.

The report identified the following key areas for improvement: staffing levels and the use of bank and agency staff, availability of staff trained in the use of physical interventions and environmental issues on some of the in-patient wards.

Many of the areas identified by the CQC have already been addressed, or plans are in place to deliver the required improvements.

Kevan Taylor, Chief Executive, said: “As a learning organisation, we very much welcome the CQC’s independent report on our services following the inspection in June and July this year.  I am delighted that the excellent practice and innovation in our community mental health services for older people has been recognised and that the services have received an outstanding rating.  The report also recognises good practice and a commitment to improvement across all areas, including the introduction of safety huddles on the in-patient wards, our commitment to reducing restrictive interventions and blanket restrictions in all inpatient services and our new Recovery College.

“The CQC have rightly also identified areas where we need to do more. Most of these areas were already known to us and work was well underway to address these.  In some instances the issues raised were able to be actioned immediately. 

“For example, the report raises concerns about access to our new 24 hour Single Point of Access for adult mental health services in the city.  This service was launched earlier this year and the aim of the service is to make sure that everyone accessing adult mental health services  has the same waiting time, regardless of where they live. 

“The service has received a significantly higher than anticipated demand (with 40% more referrals than expected based on pre-existing demand and commissioned activity).  We identified this as an issue which needed urgent action, particularly in relation to the telephone system which was not robust enough to support the increased volume in calls.  We took swift action to address this which included recruiting additional staff to answer calls and the introduction of a call escalation system.  We are confident that the action we have taken has addressed the concerns identified. 

“While we are disappointed that our overall rating has gone down, we are confident that work is already in place to address the issues identified in the inspection report and that in many cases, as above, these have already been resolved.  We are working collaboratively with staff and key stakeholders on our action plan which will be published in due course on our website.”

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, said:

“Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation has an excellent reputation for the kind, caring and compassionate care they continue to provide to citizens across Sheffield and the surrounding areas and I am pleased that much of their work has been highlighted positively within the CQC’s report today.

“As a wider system, we are supporting our partners as they continue to make improvements and know that initiatives are already in place to ensure that anyone accessing mental health services receives the best and highest quality support they need. For example, almost £0.5m is already set to be invested to provide an increased service to anyone needing mental health crisis support in Sheffield and a specialist support service for new mums across the region is also set to launch thanks to £880,000 extra investment from NHS England.”