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Chief Inspector of Hospitals removes Birmingham mental health service from special measures following significant improvements in care

8 March 2017
Dartmouth House
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has welcomed improvements in the quality of services provided by Dartmouth House in Birmingham.

CQC inspected this specialist mental health unit in August 2015 when it was called Harriet Tubman House. At that time its purpose was to provide care and treatment to women of working age with a mental illness. Following this inspection, the service was rated Inadequate and placed into special measures.

The provider, Options for Care Ltd, took the decision to voluntarily close the unit to undertake a full refurbishment. They also changed its statement of purpose from providing care for women to providing care for men. Dartmouth House opened in July 2016.

Dartmouth House is now an independent, long stay rehabilitation unit, providing care for up to 16 men of working age. It is registered to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to people detained under the Mental Health Act.

The latest inspection took place in October 2016 and concluded the service had addressed all areas of previous concern. It has now been awarded an overall rating of Good across all five domains. The unit was rated as Good for being responsive, well-led, effective, safe and caring.

A full report of the latest inspection has been published.

Inspectors found that since the original inspection Dartmouth House had taken significant steps to improve leadership, with a focus on improving the quality and safety of its services to patients.

Examples of good practice included:

  • Patients spoke positively about staff and the care and support they received. Staff showed good knowledge of the patients’ needs and used this to build relationships based on trust.
  • Staff knew senior managers and said there was a culture where open discussion was encouraged. This helped to ensure staff morale and job satisfaction was high. Access to administrative staff allowed staff to maximise the time spent with patients.
  • All areas including the clinic were clean, well maintained and fit for purpose.
  • The service had ligature risks but these had been risk assessed to increase the level of independence for patients and were risk assessed for individuals.
  • Patient care plans were detailed, and recovery focused. Staff used National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance when prescribing and dispensing medication and monitored patients’ physical health needs on a regular basis.
  • Patients had access to a wide range of skilled staff including nurses, healthcare assistants, psychologists, occupational therapist and activities coordinators.

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

“Our inspection in August 2015 highlighted a number of serious concerns. I am very pleased to see that since then, the service has made significant progress, which has led to a much improved service for patients resulting in a new rating of good and CQC removing the provider from special measures.

“By the time of our latest inspection, the provider had significantly strengthened its leadership and management and had taken a proactive team approach towards making and sustaining improvements in quality.

“The staff team had a range of specialist skills and this gave patients access to a wide range of activities and therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy.

“Staff were motivated and demonstrated high levels of job satisfaction. They knew senior managers and felt they could talk to them at any time. They said they received a great deal of support to help them do their jobs.

“Patients attended a daily diary meeting to discuss activities and the plans for the day with staff. The service also had a weekly patients meeting where wider issues could be discussed. This shows an effective level of patient inclusion in not only their care plans, but their everyday life activities.

“It is clear Dartmouth House took our findings seriously and has worked hard to implement the necessary changes. All of the staff should be proud of what they have achieved and I applaud the dedication and commitment they have shown to improving the care of their patients.”


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

To get to the heart of people’s experiences of care, we always ask the following five questions of services.

  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?

Providers are required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily.

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.