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Mental health services in the North East are among the ‘best in the country’ – but there is still a lot to do

Posted: 20/07/17

Mental health and disability NHS services in the North East have been praised as some of the best in the country following a new study by a care watchdog.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) was praised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a comprehensive, nationwide review of all specialist mental health services.

The study found that, although mental health care varied widely, the North East was home to some of the best care and support in the country.

In light of the CQC’s comments, NTW chief executive John Lawlor was very encouraged, but he stressed that the trust is well aware it has a lot more to do to improve services for the North East community.

He added: “It has always been our ambition to provide support that equals the best in the world and these latest comments from the CQC are very encouraging. This is down to our amazing NHS staff, who work incredibly hard day-in day-out.

“We felt very humbled to get our ‘outstanding’ rating last year. That said, we know there are still areas where we must improve and we will not rest until everyone we serve gets the very best care possible.

“Ultimately the best judges of what we do are the people and communities we serve. We will continue to listen to, work with, and support both them and our colleagues to grow and improve our services – together.”

In a press release about the findings, the CQC said: “The best mental health services in England provide care in hospitals and round-the-clock care in the community that is world-class.

“The characteristics of outstanding providers – like Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and East London NHS Foundation Trust – are those that display clear leadership, both at a provider and ward level, that ensure their staff have the systems in place to enable them to do their jobs properly and that shape the care they deliver around the people who receive it.”

Ultimately the best judges of what we do are the people and communities we serve. We will continue to listen to, work with, and support both them and our colleagues to grow and improve our services – together

John LawlorChief executive, NTW

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (Lead for Mental Health), added: “Some services remain rooted in the past – providing care that is over-restrictive and that is not tailored to each person’s individual needs. This can leave people feeling helpless and powerless.  But the best services are looking to the future by working in partnership with the people whose care they deliver, empowering their staff and looking for opportunities to work with other parts of the health and care system.

“These outstanding mental health services provide world-class care, whether in hospital or in the community; the challenge is how to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live or who they are, has access to services of this quality. The good news is that mental health services in England have the raw material to achieve great things.

“We have rated almost every service as good or outstanding for caring – ratings that were informed by our own observations and with interviews with many thousands of staff and patients.

“Those who deliver and commission care must learn from the services that are getting it right. And we will continue to highlight good practice, drive improvement and act on behalf of people to ensure that everyone gets the help they need when they need it.”

The CQC praise comes in the same week that NTW launched its new strategy for the next five years. A full version of the strategy document can be found online.

The trust’s strategic ambitions, developed in partnership with service users and carers, are as follows:

  1. Working together with service users and carers we will provide excellent care, supporting people on their personal journey to wellbeing
  2. With people, communities and partners, together we will promote prevention, early intervention and resilience
  3. Working with partners there will be “no health without mental health” and services will be “joined up”
  4. The Trust’s mental health and disability services will be sustainable and deliver real value to the people who use them
  5. The Trust will be a centre of excellence for mental health and disability
  6. The Trust will be regarded as a great place to work

Notes to editors

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust provides mental health, learning disability and neurological care and support to a population of 1.2million people across the region.

For the latest statistics on use of NTW services, see this data set from NHS Digital. NTW is listed in row 257. At the end of the reporting period (March 2017) there were 30,275 people in contact with a majority of the trust’s services. Including services not measured in this data (such as some based at Walkergate Park), the number is expected to be nearer 40,000.

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