Inspectors find too few nurses at scandal-hit mental health trust

Care Quality Commission says quality of care in some areas requires ‘significant improvement’ at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
Panorama footage of Edenfield Centre

Care Quality Commission says quality of care in some areas requires ‘significant improvement’ at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Some members of staff at the Edenfield Centre, run by the trust, were filmed using ‘inappropriate’ restraint with one patient. Picture: BBC

A mental health trust has been served with warning notices to improve after inspectors found there were not enough registered nurses to care for patients.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out focused inspections at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), some of which were performed after whistleblowers raised serious complaints about the quality of care.

The trust faced controversy earlier this year when a BBC Panorama investigation revealed undercover footage filmed at the Edenfield Centre in Prestwich, Manchester – run by GMMH – which showed staff bullying, humiliating and mocking patients.

Trust’s care needs ‘significant improvement’

The CQC said its inspections found there were too few staff at the trust, a lack of proper oversight and scrutiny by the trust’s board, and problems with the assessment of suicide risk, the way medicines were managed, cleanliness, consent to treatment and the safety of patients.

The national care watchdog took enforcement action against the trust after the inspections, saying the quality of care in some areas required ‘significant improvement’.

The Edenfield Centre in Manchester, one of the sites run by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: BBC

Its report states: ‘The service did not have enough registered nurses and healthcare assistants to ensure that patients got the care and treatment they needed.’

‘Staff frequently worked under the minimum staffing establishment levels, wards had unfilled shifts and there was not always a registered nurse present.’

Most of the CQC’s ratings for the trust, including for acute wards for adults and intensive care, and safe and well-led areas, have dropped to ‘inadequate’.

Spotlight on deaths at the trust

The trust has also been under scrutiny after three young people died within nine months, with families saying staff needed to be held to account.

An inquest in October ruled that communication failures ‘probably caused or contributed to’ the death of 18-year-old Rowan Thompson at the trust’s Prestwich site.

GMMH also came under fire after a BBC Panorama investigation found a ‘toxic culture’ of abuse at the trust’s Edenfield Centre. Several staff members were suspended and a police investigation was launched after undercover footage revealed staff mocking and ‘inappropriately’ restraining a patient with autism.

One nurse at the Edenfield Centre was filmed saying that a patient ‘needs a good thrashing’. Picture: BBC

Review aims to ‘bring some clarity and reassurance to patients’

NHS England has put the trust into its Recovery Support Programme.

In its letter to the trust, NHS England said the independent review ‘follows concerns raised by patients, their families, and staff, some of which have been presented through the media’.

It adds: ‘The intention is that the review’s work will bring some clarity and reassurance to patients, their families, and staff, as well as the broader public, in respect of the ongoing safety of services that the trust delivers.’

Trust is working towards ‘sustainable improvements’

A spokesperson for GMMH said work was already underway to build ‘better and more sustainable services’.

They added: ‘Our enrolment in NHS England’s Recovery Support Programme will provide us with access to additional expertise and resources to ensure that sustainable improvements are made as quickly as possible.’

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