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Legal experts say further improvements still needed following latest Care Quality Commission inspection of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out inspections into the community mental health services at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. The CQC acknowledged that although positive changes had been made by the Trust, it found a backlog of about 100 serious incidents that required investigation.

The latest inspection by the CQC was carried out after concerns were raised over the Trust’s quality of care, following serious incidents being reported in some of its 167 services. The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services to people of all ages across the North-East of England, covering County Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire, York and Selby.

The Trust have recently admitted that there were failures in the care of two patients who sadly took their own lives, according to media reports.

The latest CQC inspection findings

The inspection also looked for areas of improvement overall, following a previous inspection which deemed some services inadequate. Overall, six services were inspected with three being rated as “requires improvement”. 

While it's positive that the Trust no longer has any services that are rated “inadequate” it's clear from the CQC findings that the Trust still have improvements to make. 

In summary, the inspection found that the Trust was reluctant to reach out to people where treatment had caused harm and that it failed to apologise for incidents resulting in harm. 

Staff weren't always trained to deliver safe care, staff didn't take action to reduce risk and the seclusion facilities at the Trust weren't always fit for purpose, with some wards having blind spots, inspectors found. 

The CQC is continuing to monitor Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Conclusion and supporting families with care concerns

While it's important to recognise the much-needed positive changes being made by the Trust, it's clear it still requires significant improvement in order to deliver adequate and safe care to vulnerable patients.

Irwin Mitchell is supporting families who have been impacted by the failings of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. Find out more about our expertise in supporting families at our dedicated medical negligence section.