Advising with empathy and experience

York Mental Health Service Requires Improvement.

A MENTAL health service in York has been told that it requires improvement after a recent inspection by the healthcare watchdog.

The finding came in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) service based at Algarth House, The Retreat, York.

The inspection - which investigated the service’s safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and also whether it was caring and well-led - found that the clinical premises where patients received care “did not maintain the confidentiality of patients” while staffing levels were not high enough to meet the demands on the service.

Inspectors also found that the service did not have effective processes in place to safely manage a medical emergency.

The service was also criticised for average waiting times of 18 months, as well as a lack of communication with patients. The CQC report said that “patients were not able to contact the service easily and staff didn’t always respond to patients that left messages.”

However, the CQC report praised staff for treating patients with compassion and kindness. They also understood the individual needs of patients and “mostly supported patients to understand and manage their care, treatment, and control.”

Overall, the inspection found that the service required improvement for its safety, responsiveness and leadership but achieved a good rating for its effectiveness and caring qualities.

The report adds that the service must take action to significantly reduce waiting times and to enforce a system with primary care so patients receive all the care they need.

The Retreat's chief officer for clinical services, Dr Kim Bevan, said: “We’re disappointed that the CQC’s main criticisms, particularly around staffing levels and waiting times, are out of our direct control. Mental health funding challenges are a national issue and we’re constantly working to find local solutions.

“We acknowledge that some of our processes, such as fire safety, patient information, and mandatory training, need improving and we have already embarked on a major overhaul of these areas as part of our commitment to become an entirely paper-free organisation.”