• Care Quality Commission rates Northamptonshire Healthcare FT as “outstanding” overall
  • The ranking follows the inspection of six services over June and July this year
  • It makes Northamptonshire Healthcare FT the third mental health trust to achieve the highest rating

A mental health trust has been rated “outstanding” by CQC inspectors – the third in the country to achieve the highest ranking.

Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust was given the highest overall rating following inspections of six mental health and community services by the Care Quality Commission in June and July.

The mental health and community services trust was rated “outstanding” for the caring and well led categories, and “good” for being safe, effective and responsive.

The inspection report, published today, makes the FT the third mental health trust to be given the highest ranking after East London FT and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear FT were ranked “outstanding” in September 2016.

Both ELFT and NTW have successfully retained their top ratings this year after being reinspected by the care quality watchdog.

Northamptonshire Healthcare had previously been rated “good” overall last year, an improvement from its “requires improvement” rating following its first CQC inspection in 2015.

But during the most recent visit, inspectors said a number of improvements had been made to boost its rating to “outstanding”.

CQC deputy chief inspector for hospitals and lead for mental health Paul Lelliott said the watchdog was particularly impressed with the “strength of leadership” at the trust.

He added: “We did identify a small number of areas where the trust could make further improvements.

“For example, they could improve the safety of some services; including the acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units and mental health crisis services and health based places of safety.

“Overwhelmingly, however, we found a trust that provides excellent care during our inspection. The trust board and all staff working at the trust are to be congratulated for their hard work in achieving such high standards across its services.”

The CQC said it was impressed by the:

  • Attitude towards innovation and service improvements at the trust;
  • Priority given to engagement at every level through all services;
  • Staff being helpful, understanding and using kind and supportive language that patients would understand; and
  • Establishment of “strong and therapeutic” relationships between staff and patients.

Northamptonshire Healthcare’s chief executive Angela Hillery said the organisation was “over the moon” with its rating.

She added: “We have all worked hard to be the best we can be and the journey we have taken together has enabled us to achieve our trust’s vision of being a leading provider of outstanding, compassionate care.”