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London mental health service receives first ‘Outstanding’ rating under new inspection approach

28 July 2015
Priory Hospital Enfield
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the North London Clinic as ‘Outstanding’ following an inspection carried out in April 2015. This is the first time that it has awarded this rating to any mental health provider in England. The North London Clinic provides mental health care to men with a diagnosis of mental illness.

In October 2014, CQC began to roll out its new inspection regime for health and social services across England. The new approach uses specialist teams who inspect and rate services against what matters to the people who use them.

A full report of the inspection has been published today. The report highlights a number of areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • The introduction of a work experience programme that enabled patients to apply for a range of roles at the clinic including vehicle maintenance assistant, service user liaison officer and onsite shop manager. Patients received dedicated support to prepare CVs, develop interview skills and received appropriate training prior to taking up any role.
  • Maths and English tutors came into the hospital and provided individual tutorials to improve patients’ literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Patients were involved in the design and delivery of the service, with staff acting upon patient suggestions and a variety of different activities enabling patients to have their say. These included patient representatives for each ward, with bi-monthly meetings chaired by the hospital director. ‘Living together’ groups brought patients together to discuss how to improve their environment and clinic experience. The patient safety and engagement lead proactively encouraged all staff to record informal as well as formal complaints, with weekly visits taking place at each ward to speak to patients about their experiences and to raise any concerns.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals (and lead for mental health), said:

"We are delighted that the North London Clinic has achieved the first ‘Outstanding’ rating awarded to a mental health provider under our new approach.

“We were particularly impressed with the provider’s action to initiate positive service improvements for patients and the commitment of all staff to deliver targeted support and to continuously seek improved outcomes for the people in their care.

“As the regulator of health and social care services in England, we work to make sure people receive safe, high-quality and compassionate health and social care. Our new inspection approach has people at its heart and has been designed to enable us to put a stop to bad practice and to celebrate what is working well better than ever before.”

Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt MP said:

“Staff at the North London Clinic should be proud of their hard work and dedication to ensuring a safe and caring environment, which has been recognised by the CQC.

“Getting the first ‘Outstanding’ rating for a mental health provider under the CQC’s rigorous new inspection regime is testament to their commitment to delivering a service which prioritises dignity, responsiveness and respect for service users.”


For further information please contact Yetunde Akintewe, CQC Regional Engagement Manager, on 07471 020 659. 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 media team here. 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.