PERFORMANCE: A West Midlands provider has become the first mental health trust to receive a published rating from the Care Quality Commission under its new inspection regime.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust was rated “good” by the regulator.

The FT volunteered to be rated in a pilot for the new inspection regime in mental health and agreed to have its rating published. The new regime involves larger, more specialist inspection teams.

Birmingham and Solihull received a “good” rating against four of the five areas the CQC assesses.

The trust’s leadership, clinical effectiveness, responsiveness to patients, and caring nature all received this rating.

However, the CQC judged that the safety of its services “requires improvement”.

Areas for improvement included:

  • ensuring medicines were stored safely;
  • ensuring people received medication in a timely manner;
  • addressing ligature risks;
  • improving record keeping; and
  • increasing the number of suitably qualified staff at some sites.  

Birmingham and Solihull has been issued with compliance actions requiring them to take action in these areas.

The CQC also highlighted many instances of good practice including a high standard of person centred care for older people, the trust’s specialised resettlement team, and the strong research focus of its neuropsychiatry service.

The chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said: “Throughout the inspection we saw evidence that the trust organised services to meet people’s needs and found examples of innovative and collaborative working across the service.

“Overall, this is a good trust and while areas for improvement have been highlighted to the trust, the trust knows what action it now needs to take.”

Birmingham and Solihull chief executive John Short said the rating was “testament to the unstinting efforts of our staff and managers”.

He added: “We recognise, however, that in caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community we can never be complacent and we constantly seek to learn from occasions when things go wrong, identify improvements and take swift action, as we have done following this inspection.”