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Hill Crest Ward in Redditch – CQC report

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust logo - New

Following an inspection in July 2022, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the Hill Crest Mental Health Ward in Redditch as Inadequate in a report to be published on Wednesday, 8th February.

Hill Crest is an 18-bed mixed gender ward for adults of working age and supports people who experience acute mental health difficulties, and those who may be detained under the Mental Health Act.

The CQC report said the Trust did not ensure the environment at Hill Crest was well maintained, that risk assessments were not always created and reviewed in a timely way, and that staff were not confident that concerns raised would be acted on by senior leaders.

However, the report identified that Trust staff were correctly trained and supervised and that additional temporary staff could be rostered according to patient needs.

Immediately following the inspection last year, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the ward addressed the urgent issues which were identified during the visit. The Trust has also made improvements to the environment, to risk assessments documented within clinical records, and to staff handover procedures. The Trust also reviewed the leadership structures within the service to ensure they were fit for purpose.   

While these actions helped stabilise things over recent months, there continues to be very low levels of permanent nursing and healthcare staff on the ward. This means an over-reliance on temporary staffing which is impacting the overall quality of the service being delivered.

As a result, further steps were agreed last week which include temporarily closing the ward to new admissions and reducing the number of beds from 18 to 10 to allow time to focus on improving quality of care and make the best use of the staff available.

The Trust’s other two acute mental health wards for adults – Holt Ward in Worcester and Mortimer Ward in Hereford – were not part of this inspection.

Sarah Dugan, Chief Executive at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said:We recognise that the standards of care and professionalism at Hill Crest at the time of the inspection last July were not good enough. I would like to apologise to the patients and families concerned.

“While the steps we took following the inspection last July addressed the immediate issues raised and helped stabilise the ward, we continue to have some significant staffing challenges which affect our ability to embed and sustain these improvements. 

“We are confident that the temporary reduction in beds that we agreed last week will help alleviate the pressures on the Hill Crest team. It will also help us focus on continuing to implement our improvement plan and sustain the changes that we are making. 

“We will work with our other inpatient wards and community teams to ensure that patients can continue to access the right level of care while our bed numbers at Hill Crest are temporarily reduced.”

As well as proving a range of mental health services for children, adults and older adults across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the Trust also runs community nursing and therapy services, community hospitals, minor injury units, children’s services and sexual health and dental services in Worcestershire.

Overall, the Trust continues to be rated Good by the CQC.

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