Concerns over shared sleeping accommodation at Nottinghamshire NHS trust

A Nottinghamshire NHS trust has been told to improve by a health watchdog following an inspection. Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides integrated healthcare services across the county, remains rated as ‘requires improvement’ after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited earlier this year.

The report, published today (Friday, November 25), raised concerns with shared sleeping accommodation, of which 80 patients were using. “Whilst the bed areas were separated by curtains, this didn’t promote people’s wellbeing, privacy or dignity,” said Jenny Wilkes, CQC head of hospital inspection.

“This issue was raised with the trust in 2019 and they had set deadlines to get rid of these areas, but this was delayed due to refurbishment elsewhere and still hadn’t been done.” Inspectors found long stay rehabilitation mental health adult wards had not been well maintained, pointing out that showers at Thorneywood Mount had not worked properly for almost two years.

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“In addition, within two mental health services and one community health service, there weren’t always enough suitably qualified staff on duty to meet people’s needs and keep them safe,” added Ms Wilkes. The CQC also said that there were not always additional alarms for staff working in the wards for older people if staffing numbers increased.

This meant staff could not get help quickly if there was an emergency. However, the watchdog did praise the care given to patients by staff and moved the rating in that category to ‘outstanding’. “We saw several examples of staff going the extra mile to ensure patients felt involved with their care,” noted Ms Wilkes.

“For example, one patient said staff had helped them to find a nurse specialising in Parkinson’s disease and another said staff always provided full explanations about their medications which gave them a better understanding of their condition.” Anne-Maria Newham, chief executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the CQC has recognised our staff and volunteers by rating our services as Outstanding for caring.

“As with any inspection, there will always be areas for improvement and we will use the findings from this recently published report to reflect on how we can continue to improve our services for patients.” The trust said it had already begun making improvements.

It said the “eradication of ‘dormitory’ accommodation has been a priority” for some time, aiming to do so by 2025/26. Ms Newham added: “As with many areas of the NHS across the country, we are not alone in experiencing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. We are doing all we can to address this and are pleased that the CQC noted that our staff feel respected, supported and valued and that there are many great opportunities for development and career progression.

“We have some amazing colleagues who work hard each day to provide high quality care and treatment to our patients, service users and their families and I want to thank them for their continued dedication in often difficult circumstances.”

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