• Norfolk and Suffolk FT to buddy with outstanding rated East London FT
  • Norfolk and Suffolk was put back in special measures earlier this year
  • Buddying is part of its special measures support

A struggling foundation trust that was put back into special measures less than a year after exiting them has been assigned an outstanding rated buddy trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust was rated inadequate by the Care quality Commission in July and placed back in special measures, having only been removed from them in October 2016.

NHS Improvement confirmed on Monday the struggling trust will be buddying with East London FT as part of the its quality special measures support package.

NHSI executive medical director Kathy McLean said the regulator will work with both trusts to make sure the arrangement works for patients.

She said: “This arrangement will see one of the country’s leading mental health trusts providing expertise to Norfolk and Suffolk FT to improve services for patients and service users.

“The trust needs to make sustainable changes and by joining efforts with experts from East London FT they will be better able to provide people with consistently high quality care.

“This shows how NHS organisations can help each other and share experience to improve healthcare for their communities.”

CQC inspectors found Norfolk and Suffolk had “not maintained [the] standards” that had led to the regulator recommending it be removed from special measures last year.

Then chief executive Michael Scott retired at the end of September ahead of the publication of a critical inspection report. Deputy chief executive Julie Cave took over as interim leader.

East London was rated outstanding by the CQC last year and is part of NHSI’s mental health quality improvement network.

Its chief executive Navina Evans said: ”NSFT already has an improvement director appointed by NHSI so this is more about what we can share as best practice and also what we can learn from NSFT too.

”Despite being in special measures, some of NSFT’s services were rated outstanding by the CQC and we can learn from them. It is about being a friend to NSFT to help them in their journey out of special measures and we will learn along the way too.”

HSJ reported in January that NHSI has teamed up with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear FT to develop a new improvement programme for the sector.

Eight trusts have joined the network as partners:

  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT;
  • Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Mental Health FT;
  • East London FT;
  • Devon Partnership Trust;
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys FT;
  • Lancashire Care FT;
  • Mersey Care FT; and
  • Hertfordshire Partnership University FT.

NHSI and the CQC also sent a letter to mental health provider chief executives, medical directors and nursing directors launching a mental health patient safety initiative.

It said: “The programme will be jointly chaired by [national mental health clinical director] Tim Kendall and [CQC mental health lead] Paul Lelliott and will incorporate other national quality improvement work, including the next phase of NHS Improvement’s mental health quality improvement programme that a number of mental health providers are already engaged in, and will link directly with the joint NHS Improvement and NHS England out of area placements support offer.”

NHSI added out of area placement bed days to the single oversight framework earlier this month.

 

This story was amended at 4.45pm to include the statement from East London FT.