Essex mental health trust told safety ‘needs to improve’

A mental health trust prosecuted for failings after 11 patients died must make further safety improvements, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said. 

Inspectors found safety issues on male wards and psychiatric intensive care units run by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

The Trust said it had taken “immediate action” to remedy the concerns.

In November, EPUT pleaded guilty to safety failings related to patient deaths between 2004 and 2015.

Those patients were using services provided by the South Essex Partnership Trust, which became part of EPUT after a merger in 2017. 

The CQC’s report followed inspections in October and November last year at the Finchingfield Ward – a 17-bed unit in the Linden Centre in Chelmsford which provides treatment for men experiencing acute mental health difficulties.

Matthew Leahy
image captionMatthew Leahy was found hanged at the Linden Centre in 2012

The CQC said the visit was prompted “due to concerning information raised to the commission regarding safety incidents leading to concerns around risk of harm”.

The inspection, which looked at safety only, found the following concerns:

  • Some staff did not follow the required actions to maintain patient safety
  • Closed-circuit television showed staff who were meant to be observing were not present, and this contributed to an incident of patient absconding
  • Staff did not keep accurate records of patient care and managers did not check the quality and accuracy of notes 
  • Shifts were not always covered by staff with appropriate experience and competency
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