United Kingdom

Health watchdog: mental health services have improved despite lack of nurses

Mental health services at two sites in Camden have been given an upgraded rating after a previous inspection found they required improvement.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), inspected wards at the Highgate Centre for Mental Health and St Pancras Hospital between November 17 and November 23, 2022.

Overall, it rated the nine acute wards for working age adults and two psychiatric care units belonging to Camden and Islington NHS Trust as ‘good’.

The CQC found the service was “more responsive” to people’s needs compared to the previous inspection in October and November 2019.

Inspectors said that the safety of services still required improvement as “wards did not have enough permanent nurses.”

Wards at the two sites were described as “safe and clean”.

Staff were also praised for managing risk well and medicines safely, minimising the use of restrictive practices and following good safeguarding practices.

But the health watchdog found that fewer than 75% of staff members had completed required training in basic intermediate life support. There are plans in place to address this, however.

Jane Ray, CQC deputy director of operations for London, said: “I’m pleased Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust has made improvements in its acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units.

“The service was more responsive to people’s needs compared to our previous inspection.

“We found people benefited from kind and caring interactions with staff, who developed good plans to support their recovery.

“However, there are issues the trust must address.

“The service faced pressure due to not having enough nurses. While this is an issue affecting much of the NHS, leaders must develop strategies to reduce the impact this can have on people’s care.”

Chief Executive of Camden and Islington NHS Trust Jinjer Kandola said: “I am delighted with the CQC’s findings.  

“Among many positive findings, the inspectors found that our service treats people with compassion and kindness, respecting their privacy and dignity, and understanding their individual needs.

“We continue to work hard to improve the areas where more work is needed, but I am pleased that this report recognises, overall, the excellent care, commitment and professionalism of our staff.”


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