SOLIHULL’S mental health services for children and young people have been rated as ‘good’ by the chief inspector of hospitals.
The Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust had its status upgraded after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessment of the Solar specialist community mental health services for children and young people.
The CQC inspection of Solar lasted from January 3 to 5.
The inspection was to check for improvements since the last inspection in March last year when the service was rated ‘Inadequate’.
Inspectors found significant improvements had been made across the service which was rated Good for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
A new management structure had been implemented following CQC’s last inspection and CQC bosses said it was evident this had turned the service around significantly.
While vast improvements had been made in documenting care records, some work was still needed on care plan documentation to reflect the work undertaken with patients.
NHS figures show Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust has made an improvement since the period of January to March last year in which average waiting times were 164 days – the highest in the West Midlands.
According to latest data for from October to December last year, the average waiting time was 109 days.
The trust is performing well above the national standard of 18 weeks- which equates to 126 days.
But the trust has been criticised in the past by parents of children with mental health issues in Solihull.
Many say that waiting times can be dangerously long for children who need immediate attention.
Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health) said: “We could see that the new leadership team and staff had worked hard to develop and implement an action plan to address our previous concerns.
“Staff commented that the service’s new management structure had led to systems and processes that were previously lacking, being implemented and carried out effectively.
“Feedback from patients and relatives was very positive. They spoke of receiving good support from understanding and supportive staff, being made to feel welcome and how they felt there was an improvement in their own mental health wellbeing.
“Other agencies that worked with Solar also gave extremely positive feedback. Service commissioners said the trust worked collaboratively and effectively with them to provide care for children, young people and their families.
“There were some areas where improvements were needed and the trust has told us they have listened to our inspectors’ findings and we are confident that the executive team, with the support of their staff, will work to deliver the necessary improvements.”