You are here

NHS trusts that provide mental health services to be inspected according to risk

20 November 2014
  • Media,
  • Mental health community services,
  • Mental health hospital services

Today (Thursday 20 November) and for the first time, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published information on every NHS trusts that provide mental health services in England to show the public how it decides which services it will inspect next and what it will focus on.

The information is CQC’s analysis of 59 different sources of evidence, ranging from concerns raised by healthcare staff, bed occupancy rates, to staff and patient surveys.

CQC collects this evidence to help plan its inspection activities and to show the NHS and the public how it works and where it could have concerns in these topics.

This analysis shows that the majority of NHS trusts that provide mental health services in England appear to be of low concern.

While this is not a judgment of their performance, it is a positive indication about what the quality of their care could be like.

CQC will use this analysis to guide its inspections from April. CQC can only judge the performance of a NHS trust that provides mental health services once it has carried out an inspection of whether its services are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.

Of the 57 NHS trusts that provide mental health services in England, CQC has placed 40 of these into bands from one to four (highest perceived risk to lowest perceived risk).

Of the 40 trusts within these bands, over a third of the trusts are in band four. Five are in band one.

Dr Paul Lelliott Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for mental health) said: “We have developed this ‘intelligent monitoring’ tool to give our inspection teams a clear indication of the aspects of care that may warrant further investigation on their inspections.

“While the bandings are not judgements of quality, we hope NHS trusts will use our analysis to reflect on where they may need to improve.

“It is encouraging that of the NHS trusts that provide mental health services within bands, over a third is of lowest concern.

“Those that give us the greatest concern will be prioritised for inspection so that we can be confident people receive safe, high-quality and compassionate care.”

Of the 40 banded NHS trusts that provide mental health services, 5 are in band one, 16 are in band two, 2 are in band three and 16 are in band four, which is the band where there is the lowest concern according to the data.

While this is the first time that CQC has published ‘intelligent monitoring’ for NHS trusts that provide mental health services, CQC has been publishing this analysis for acute NHS trusts since last October, which it updates every three months. Earlier this week, it published the first ‘intelligent monitoring’ information for general practices following the publication of its first two inspection reports of Outstanding general practices in England.

NHS trusts that provide mental health services care for people with serious mental health problems and offer services, such as counselling and other psychological therapies, community and family support, and general health screening.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb, said: “People with mental illness deserve the best possible care. These initial figures give a useful indication of varying standards around the country. By highlighting both good and bad, we can drive up standards everywhere.”

Dr Katherine Rake OBE, Chief Executive of Healthwatch England said: “It comes as no surprise that access to beds and the general quality of mental health facilities have both been flagged by this report. Patients and their loved ones have been raising these concerns with local Healthwatch right across the country for some time.  

“Five of the country’s NHS trusts that provide mental health services fall into the CQC’s highest risk category and action must be taken now to ensure that patients of these facilities in question are accessing quality care.

“We hope that armed with this new intelligence, the inspectors will be able to target their efforts. It is critical that standards are driven up to ensure everyone has access to the same high quality care.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: "One in four of us will experience a mental health problem next year and those of us who seek help for our mental health have the right to expect safe, speedy access to the services we need, when we need them. While we know that in some parts of the country services are very good, in too many places services are failing people when they are unwell. We are pleased to see that the CQC is looking to listen to the views of both staff and people who use services and making the most of the intelligence available to really get behind the scenes of mental health services."​

The full list of NHS trusts that provide mental health services that CQC will inspect from April will be announced shortly.

For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.


Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors

  • 17 NHS trusts that provide mental health services trusts have not been placed into bandings because they have already been inspected under CQC’s tougher and expert-led regime. Of the 17, 5 have been rated:
    • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust: Good
    • Bradford District Care Trust: Good
    • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust: Good
    • Bradford District Care Trust: Good
    • Isle of Wight NHS Trust: Requires Improvement
  • Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation trust has not been placed into a band because of a significant proportion of the indicators are not applicable to its services.
  • CQC will update its ‘intelligent monitoring’ tool every three months.
  • The data sources used for the priority bands include:
    • Incidents reported to National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) 
    • Community Mental Health Patient Experience Survey - CQC 
    • Mental Health Act database 
    • Mental Health Minimum Data Set 
    • NHS Staff Survey 
    • National Training Surveys 
    • Electronic Staff Record 
    • Staff concerns reported to CQC (whistleblowing information) 
    • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). 
  • For further information about the data sources that have been used to generate these indicators, please refer to the document ‘Indicators and methodology’ on our website:

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.