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Chief Inspector of Hospitals finds that Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has improved but still has more to do

23 December 2016
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has told Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that, although it has made significant progress since CQC’s last inspection, it must make further improvements to the quality of its services following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Overall CQC has rated the trust as Requires Improvement. Although the trust provided services that were Good for being caring and responsive, improvements were needed for services to be consistently safe, effective and well led.

During the last comprehensive inspection of the trust in January 2015, inspectors identified a number of areas where improvements were needed. CQC rated four of the 11 core services as requires improvement. At this inspection seven core services were rated as good. Three core services had moved from being rated as requires improvement to good at this inspection. These were the wards for people with a learning disability or autism, the long stay/rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults and the child and adolescent mental health ward.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides NHS mental health, learning disability, substance misuse and prison healthcare services across Sussex, as well as community mental health services for children and young people in parts of Kent and Hampshire.

Full reports on all core services are available.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), said:

“We have seen that Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had made a number of improvements to the quality of its services. However, there is room for further improvement.

“Progress had been made across the trust to meet the Department of Health guidance on eliminating mixed-sex accommodation. However, on wards for older people with mental health problems there were still mixed-sex wards that were not always managed in accordance with Department of Health guidance. We also concluded that the trust must do more to improve patients’ access to psychological therapy.

“At the time of the previous inspection in January 2015, some of the senior team were fairly new in post. To their credit, they had themselves already identified many of the problems found at the CCQ inspection and had subsequently developed and implemented an action plan for improvement. During this inspection, many of the previously identified actions had been taken and improvements had been made services. This was particularly noticeable in the ward for people with a learning disability at the Selden Centre and long stay/rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults, where a number of improvements had been made to make the services safer and enhance the experience of patients.

“The trust had made a concerted effort to improve staffing levels to ensure that wards were safely staffed. Our inspectors found the majority of staff to be caring, kind and respectful towards patients, people who use services and their carers. They also involved them in decisions about their care. For these reasons, we rated all of the core services as good for caring and the child and adolescent mental health wards as outstanding.

“It is quite apparent that staff and the leadership team of Sussex Partnership have made significant steps to improve the quality of service and care within the trust and this is to be applauded."

The inspection team identified a number of areas where the trust must make improvements including:

  • The trust must ensure that each patient or person using the service has a complete, and updated risk assessment.
  • The trust must ensure staff are following trust policy around the safe handling of medicines requiring cold storage, to ensure these are safe for use.
  • The trust must ensure there are sufficient systems to monitor the training, appraisal and supervision of staff working across the services to ensure staff receive the appropriate level of support in their work.
  • The trust must ensure the governance systems provide sufficient oversight to the board around clinical risks, such as physical health care, risk assessment and medicines optimisation to ensure that patients are not out at risk of insufficient care and treatment.

Overall, inspectors identified a number of areas of good practice, including:

The Badgers Café at the Hellingly Centre was a patient run café for staff and patients to use. The patients were proud of their achievements in running the café, which improved their self-esteem and promoted their recovery.

The Lighthouse recovery support service had a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQI) group and were reviewing how they could engage other minority groups The group treatment service had links with LGBTQI community groups and was working in an integrated way with a number of local authorities.. 

The trust had an award for proactive ideas. The Living Well team at Linwood were recently nominated for this award for their work with dementia alliance on producing “twiddle mitts”. These are memory mitts which people can hold and ‘twiddle’, helping to reduce anxiety and promote calm.

The reports which CQC publish today are based on a combination of its inspection findings, information from CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring system, and information provided by patients, the public and other organisations including Healthwatch.

The Care Quality Commission will present its findings to a local quality summit on the 11 January, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the quality summit is to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager John Scott on 07789 875809 or, for media enquiries, call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours.  Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters). For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.