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Secure mental health ward overcomes staffing and safety concerns to achieve ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ ratings

PUBLISHED: 10:48 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 July 2017

The Bracton Centre in Dartford is managed by Oxleas NHS Foundation trust

The Bracton Centre in Dartford is managed by Oxleas NHS Foundation trust

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Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust is now rated ‘good’ overall for its mental health care

Concerns over mental health care at a secure ward in Dartford have all been corrected, according to an inspector’s report.

Last year Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust was told it ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission after concerns were raised after safety checks to prevent patients harming themselves were not completed and low staffing levels were noted.

A follow-up inspection revealed the trust, which provides care for adult patients in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham, had “significantly improved the safety of the service”.

The trust was given a ‘good’ overall rating for forensic services, the care of patients whose mental disorders pose a risk to others.

Oxleas runs the low and medium security Bracton Centre in Dartford, which cares for up to 91 patients and the Hazelwood and Greenwood secure units in Greenwich.

Jane Ray, CQC’s head of mental health hospital inspection described the trust’s progress as “encouraging”.

She said: “We were particularly impressed with the range of activities for patients, which focused on patient’s strengths and provided patients with a variety of choices. This, and other work being undertaken in the forensic services, meant we rated the service outstanding for being responsive to people in its care.

“However, there are some areas where the trust can make further improvements and I expect that the senior management team will ensure this happens in the future.”

The report highlighted the need to improve care plans for patients to better cater for each person’s needs, while privacy concerns were raised for patients wanting to make phone calls on a communal telephone.

Blanket restrictions on mobile phone use and room searching procedure were also pointed out in the report, as the same techniques were being implemented across all wards despite differing levels of security.

Ben Travis, chief executive of Oxleas, hailed the rating as a “fantastic achievement”, saying: “Special recognition must go to all our colleagues in forensic services, whose hard work and dedication was certainly noted by the CQC and is greatly appreciated by all of us.

“We have learned a lot from the CQC inspection and are looking forward to building on this success going forward.”

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