NHS mental health services in Bedfordshire rated ‘outstanding’

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Staff at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) are celebrating after the trust was rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Trust provides services in London, Luton and Bedfordshire and is the only mental health and community health trust in London and the East of England to be rated outstanding.

The inspection team carried out an extensive two-week assessment in June, visiting 86 services and talking to more than 300 patients, 52 carers and more than 700 staff.

In the first week they examined Newham community services and mental health services in all three east London boroughs before moving onto Bedfordshire and Luton in the second week.

The trust was commissioned to provide mental health services in Bedfordshire and Luton from April 2015, and inspectors highlighted its work in improving services across the county.

ELFT provides care in the area as Bedfordshire and Luton mental health and wellbeing services has driven an extensive programme of improvements including creating same-sex wards and increasing the number of beds for service users requiring adult acute inpatient care.

They also recruited 550 new staff, opened a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and bringing Oakley Court in Luton back into service.

The CQC report said: “Senior leaders had managed the transfer of the services in Luton and Bedfordshire to the trust successfully and staff and patients from those services were delighted with the many improvements that had taken place.

“The massive changes made in these services in just over a year was incredibly impressive”.

The assessment team added they were impressed with the calibre of leadership in the Trust and felt the diversity of the Trust board reflected the make-up of local communities.

They were struck by the passion staff exhibited for their work, noting that many staff had worked at the trust for a number of years and said they would not want to work anywhere else.

They found staff to be enthusiastic and hardworking, genuinely committed to improving services with an appetite for innovation.

They rated the trust to be exceptional with regard to care and compassion for patients and being responsive to their needs and they heard from patients that staff made a point of getting to know them and understand them in order to better meet their needs.

The trust’s chief executive, Dr Navina Evans, said: “I am so proud of our staff and I am absolutely delighted that their passion and talents have been recognised by this fantastic achievement.

“We have worked very hard to ensure we provide a high standard of care and we continuously review what we do to learn to do it better, we have a long way to go and this will spur us on.

I want to thank every single member of staff who has played a part in helping the Trust to become one of the best mental health and community trusts in the country.”