Concern over mental health care in Cambridgeshire

An NHS watchdog has warned it could take enforcement action after highlighting serious failures in mental health care in Cambridgeshire.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has expressed concerns about the services at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

The report raises concerns over the protection of vulnerable people and the safety of premises.

The CPFT said it was disappointed and surprised by the CQC's findings.

The CQC has told the trust that if it does not take immediate steps to improve standards of its mental health services, enforcement action may follow.

CQC inspectors found the trust to be in breach of five regulations covering care and welfare, staffing, safeguarding people, assessing and monitoring service provision and safety and suitability of premises.

The issues raised include:

  • Concern there are not always enough members of staff with the right qualifications, skills and experience to meet the needs of patients
  • Poorly designed fixed furniture and the presence of potential ligature points (where people could hang themselves or do themselves harm) in some buildings, posing a risk to people who use services
  • Concern that not all care plans included information regarding the individual's wider care needs

Jenny Raine, CPFT chief executive, said: "We are extremely disappointed by the conclusions of the CQC report and were surprised by the severity of their judgements which were different to their initial feedback.

'Immediate action'

"This was based on four visits that took place in December and January.

"At no time were we threatened by enforcement actions. Indeed the CQC expressed their confidence in the trust's ability to address the non-compliant areas.

"We have taken the findings very seriously and have taken immediate remedial actions.

"We knew that some of our ward environments needed improvement and this is part of an annual programme of redecoration planned before the CQC visits.

"Most of this work has now been completed."

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