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The Care Quality Commission has been promising for almost a year that inspections will be made ‘less burdensome’ on providers.

But now a troubled mental health trust has said that its internal processes have been ‘disrupted’ due to ‘unprecedented’ requests by the watchdog for information.

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, which is currently undergoing a ‘well-led’ inspection, has told the CQC the volume of information it has requested have stopped staff doing “internal assurance activity”.

The claims, made by CEO Brent Kilmurray in TEWV’s latest board report, come after significant regulatory action at his trust in recent months. In March, the CQC downgraded five inpatient wards and criticised the trust’s leadership.

That is on top of an ongoing NHS England commissioned-inquiry into the deaths of two teenage inpatients under TEWV’s care in 2019.

The CQC said the information requested was necessary to review the risks identified in the previous inspection – and that it will only gather further evidence or undertake an inspection “where the information we have tells us that we need to reassess a rating or there are concerns about the quality of care”.

Leadership begins at home

After 12 years at the helm, a replacement has been found for Tom Cahill, chief executive of Hertfordshire Partnerships FT. And the trust didn’t have to look far.

Despite a competitive, national recruitment process, the trust has decided to appoint its current deputy CEO to the role. In an era where forging relationships across the Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated care system will be crucial, looking at the new CEO Karen Taylor’s background it’s not hard to see why.

Ms Taylor joined HPFT in 2012 as COO, becoming executive director of community services and integration in January 2014 and then executive director of strategy and integration in 2017. She later combined this role with that of deputy CEO in March 2021.

She leads the development of integrated care across the trust and is also the SRO for the mental health and learning disabilities programme across the ICS – which itself is a distinct provider collaborative.

The continuity and experience she brings will be much welcomed, especially as East and North Herts trust has also seen their long serving chief executive, Nick Carver, step down. His replacement Adam Sewell-Jones is well respected but is new to this particular ICS. Her task now will be maintaining the trust’s ‘outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission, while also focusing on wider ICS work.

As for Mr Cahill, his next career move remains unknown – watch this space.