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CQC finds good progress at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust – but mental health services require improvement

26 October 2016
Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has told Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust that it must improve child and adolescent mental health services following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Overall children’s mental health services have been rated Requires Improvement, although children’s community health services were rated as Good. The trust is still rated as Good overall following their comprehensive inspection.

During the same inspection in June CQC found that the trust had made improvements which had been required in the emergency and urgent services, neonatal services, surgical services, medicine and critical care at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Read the full report of the inspection and all individual service ratings grids.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of four dedicated children’s hospital trusts in the UK. It provides integrated healthcare for children and young people from the local population in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, as well as specialised services to children and young people nationally.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

“In the past we have found the services provided by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to be Good. I am pleased to report that since our last inspection two years ago, we have found further improvement.

“For example, we had asked the trust to ensure that there were always enough staff on duty in the emergency department out of hours, with enough senior doctors in critical care and in general paediatrics. I am satisfied that the trust has addressed these issues – although there is some work still required in developing transition services.

“On this inspection we have found areas for improvement on the child and adolescent mental health wards, where greater care must be taken to manage behaviour properly or to protect them from abuse. On the whole we found health services provided in the community to be Good.

“Following this inspection we have set out our findings including those areas for improvement – and I expect the trust to address these requirements as a priority. We will continue to monitor the trust and we will return in due course to check on progress.”

The inspectors found care and treatment was planned and delivered in line with current guidance and best practice. There was an open culture within the organisation. Incidents were reported and investigated and lessons learned, although there were some concerns about the reporting of restraint in mental health services.

Staff did not always take a proactive approach to safeguarding, particularly in the emergency department and within mental health services.

The trust was in the process of building work to provide new accommodation for some of the wards and outpatients. The aim was to provide an environment to better meet the needs of children, young people and their families.

Within community child and adolescent mental health services, there were not enough staff to meet the requirements of the service. The waiting times from initial referral to actual treatment were too long.

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

  • On child and adolescent mental health wards, the trust must ensure that practices used by staff to manage behaviour such as time out and seclusion are used and recognised correctly.
  • The trust must ensure that informal patients are aware of their rights, and any restrictions, and understand these when they consent to their admission and treatment. Staff should not use the threat of detention in order to prevent patients from leaving where this is not a justifiable and required intervention.
  • Staff must ensure that incidents involving abuse between patients are referred as safeguarding concerns where necessary. Evidence of safeguarding considerations must be documented accordingly.

The report also identifies areas of outstanding practice including:

  • Working in conjunction with NHS England the trust had been successful in securing funding for a pilot scheme linking child and adolescent mental health services with 10 schools.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust provides acute and community services for children and young people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, as well as specialised services for patients further afield.  As well as Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the trust provides inpatient child and adolescent services at the Becton Centre and respite care at Ryegate House. In addition, care is provided to children and young people in their own homes and at clinics across the city.


CQC inspected the trust between 14 and 17 June 2016 and undertook an unannounced inspection at the Emergency department on 30 June 2016


Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust had previously been rated Good in May 2014, although the mental health services and community services were not inspected at that time.  This inspection has not affected the overall rating for the trust.


This report follows a focussed inspection on the quality of services provided at Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Inspection teams include a range of clinical and other experts including experts by experience.


Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led? You can find out more about CQC’s approach to inspection on our website at


Registered providers of health and social care services are required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:

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.