You are here

Every mental health trust will soon be rated as CQC completes first inspections

22 July 2016
  • Media

People will soon have access to detailed information about the quality and safety of every NHS mental health trust in England, including where improvements are needed, as the regulator announces that it has now inspected all of them using it new regulatory approach.

Following the development, testing and roll-out of its new model over the last three years, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has now completed its comprehensive inspection programme of all 56 mental health NHS trusts in England, as planned.

The inspections are intelligence-driven and based on what matters most to people who use services. They answer the questions, are services safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led? The inspections rate services as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Now that all mental health NHS have been inspected at least once, CQC is establishing a quality baseline of the country’s mental healthcare services, which it is using to drive improvements across the system and to inform how it regulates in future.

So far, CQC has rated 47 of the 56 mental health trusts in England. Nearly two thirds (29) are ‘requires improvement’ and around a third are good (17). One is rated inadequate (Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – currently in special measures). None has yet been rated as outstanding.

CQC will continue to publish the inspection reports and ratings for the remaining 9 NHS mental health trusts over the next few months. Once all have been rated, CQC will analyse the full findings to date, to draw national conclusions about the quality and safety of specialist mental healthcare in the NHS, so that the system understands what is working well and what needs to improve.

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for mental health) said: “I am grateful for the hard work undertaken by our teams in completing the first round of our comprehensive inspection programme on schedule, and for the way in which providers have engaged with the inspections.

“During these inspections, I am encouraged that we have seen some good care and we have met many thousands of staff who are compassionate and dedicated to providing the best support and treatment they possibly can for their patients.

“However, the emerging picture is that there are too many NHS mental health trusts that provide care that requires improvement before it can be considered fully safe, effective and responsive to people’s needs.

“Staff do not always provide care that is patient-centred, nor do they always fully respect people’s rights or fully involve them in decisions about their treatment and support. Too much inpatient care is being provided in outdated buildings that do not meet modern standards. These concerns can have a serious impact on a person’s recovery from a serious mental health problem.

“We expect providers to take these concerns on board, to learn from those we have rated Good, and to do everything within their power to ensure people get the safe, high-quality and compassionate care they deserve.”

Today’s announcement comes as CQC continues with its strategy for the next five years, which builds on what it has learnt from its comprehensive inspection programme and sets out plans for a more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation. This will include making greater use of focused and unannounced inspections, which will target areas where its insight suggests there is the greatest risk to patients. Also, CQC will work with providers to help them monitor and report on their own quality more effectively and understand what is expected of them.

CQC has already inspected every acute NHS trust, by the end of March 2016 as planned, as part of its comprehensive programme: work is underway to pull together the findings of these as the individual trusts continue to be rated. CQC remains on track to inspect every primary medical and adult social care service in England by 31 March 2017.


For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours.

Also, follow the team on Twitter for the latest national announcements:

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

For further information about how CQC regulates mental health services, please refer to CQC’s provider handbook.


For further information about CQC’s plans for the regulation of health and adult social care in England, please refer to its strategy for 2016 to 2021.


Analysis of 2014/15 Health and Social Care Information Centre data shows that almost two million people (1,835,996) used mental health and learning disability services at some point in the year in England.


For detailed insight about what CQC found on its inspections of mental health services in England, please refer to the latest State of Care report.


To date, CQC has rated 45 mental health NHS trusts in England, as follows:



9 NHS mental health trusts have been inspected but not rated yet, as follows:

  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust
  • Humber NHS Foundation Trust
  • North East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  • Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • East London NHS Foundation Trust


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.