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Dirty wards at mental health trust which is told to improve

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

A mental health trust has been told it must improve after an inspection uncovered dirty wards and issues with medicines and infection control.

Hallam Street Hospital

The Black Country Partnership NHS Trust has been rated as requires improvement overall by the health watchdog, having previously been rated good.

The trust has been told it most urgently needs to improve on safety.

Wards at Hallam Street Hospital in West Bromwich were said to be 'dirty and poorly maintained'.

A clinic room there was described as 'littered' and 'dirty'.

Staff at Pond Lane Hospital in Wolverhampton were being forced to manage with 'poor working conditions', the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.

Consultations rooms at Pond Lane and Edward Street Hospital in West Bromwich were also of a poor standard, experts said.

The report said: "Not all wards were clean, well-furnished and fit for purpose. In particular, the acute wards at Hallam Street Hospital were dirty and poorly maintained. A clinic room was littered, dirty and the ward environments were unclean. Staff at Pond Lane had poor working conditions. They worked in an untidy, unclean environment with no ambient temperature control.

"Risk assessments of the physical environments in which patients received care did not cover all areas, including patient areas. Furnishings in consultation rooms where staff met with patients at Edward Street and Pond Lane were not of a good standard. Consultation rooms were dark, cluttered and uninviting."

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The CQC raised concerns about medicine management and said staff did not know what to do when medicines were not at the correct temperature. It also said staff did not always follow infection controls and that wet bedding had been left in a patient shower cubicle for several hours.

Inspectors also said patient confidentiality could potentially be compromised as computers were placed at an angle where personal details could be seen.

The mental health trust was rated 'good' on being caring, well-led and responsive and the CQC praised 'outstanding practice in the specialist community mental health service for children and young people'.

But the health watchdog said the trust must take action to address to concerns raised.

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Dr Paul Lelliott, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector, and lead for mental health, said: “Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation NHS Trust must act to make the improvements that we have identified to the care it provides to people.

“The trust board’s ability to focus on day to day running of the services has been hampered because of uncertainty created by a proposed merger with other NHS trusts. We concluded that this had adversely affected the quality of some of the trust’s services. During our inspection, we saw evidence that the leadership team were picking up the reins once again. It is vital that they follow through and we expect to see the trust perform better all-round the next time we visit the trust."

Trust chief executive Lesley Writtle, said: “We are disappointed with this rating. However, we are pleased that the CQC rated the majority of our services as good, and that the trust overall is well-led. We remain strongly committed to acting on the CQC findings and improving our services.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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