HEALTH chiefs are not doing enough to prevent suicide by mental health patients in the district.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT) needs to make improvements after an inspection found concerns raised during previous checks had not been dealt with.
Locally the trust runs Lyndon House and Shirley House, both in Solihull, along with Brooklands Hospital, Ivy Lodge and Oliver House in Marston Green.
Inspectors rated the overall service as ‘requiring improvement’ after they again found ‘ligature risks’ on mental health wards, which patients could use to hang themselves. The same risks were flagged up during an inspection in 2016, which trust bosses were told to correct but had failed to do so.
Following the most recent inspection the service was rated as ‘requiring improvement’ in safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness, but received a ‘good’ rating in the caring category.
Inspectors reported long waiting times for children and young people needing mental health services and those waiting to be diagnosed with autism.
They were also ‘seriously concerned’ 600 children and young people across the area were waiting to have the urgency of their cases decided by mental health teams.
The CQC also found the correct safeguarding procedures were not in place for patients who were being segregated long-term.
All patients who were segregated on a long-term basis were from Brooklands Hospital, which had learning disability wards along with a ‘forensic’ unit for mentally unwell patients with a criminal record.
A CQC spokesman said: “There was eight recorded incidents of long-term segregation of patients and these were all on the Brooklands site. Five were in forensic wards and three across wards for people with learning disability.
“The trust were not applying the appropriate safeguards to patients in long-term segregation.”
Inspectors added staff had not all been provided with specialist training to work on wards with older people and dementia patients, and staff were not monitoring patients’ physical and mental health closely enough. Many had also not been trained in the Mental Health Act, which covers the care and treatment of patients.
But not all reports were bad – inspectors praised the kind caring nature of staff, and that some services went ‘above and beyond’ to meet patients’ needs.
Shirley House was recognised for providing place mats for patients which highlighted their dietary requirements.
CWPT chief nurse and director of operations Tracey Wrench said some concerns had already been addressed.
She told the Observer: “We are committed to providing safe and effective services to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire. Our staff are working extremely hard and we have taken comprehensive action to reduce the risk posed by both these issues across our estate of more than 60 buildings. These are significant pieces of work requiring extensive investment, and inspectors acknowledged the progress we have made.
“We have addressed those actions requiring an urgent response, and have put in place an action plan to address all the concerns that remained following this latest inspection.”