Islington mental health chiefs unveil action plan after CQC says trust ‘requires improvement’

St Pancras Hospital, where Camden and Islington Trust is based. Picture: Nigel Sutton

St Pancras Hospital, where Camden and Islington Trust is based. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Health chiefs are taking action at Highbury’s Aberdeen Park rehab service after inspectors found “ligature points” that could help patients kill or harm themselves.

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, which was ranked “requires improvements” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last month, is the biggest provider of mental health and substance misuse services for people in the borough and neighbouring Camden.

As well as sites in Islington, it includes the Highgate Mental Health Centre.

The CQC rated mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety as “inadequate”.

The watchdog found management at the trust “required improvement”.

There was no team leader in place at the Islington early intervention service, while inspectors noted there was little management input and staff morale was low.

They also found ligature points and blind spots in the rehab service in Aberdeen Park in Highbury.

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There were no alarms fitted to bathrooms or bedrooms, either, meaning people requiring urgent assistance might not be able to get hold of help easily.

Not all staff were informed about mental health law and some patients were not told about their right to have an advocate.

At a board meeting yesterday, nursing and people director Claire Johnston said while there was good in places, there needed to be good all the way through – “like Brighton rock”.

The draft action plan states a core team will be tasked with visiting all wards to map and deal with any remaining ligature points and obstructed viewpoints.

Matrons will review the use of panic alarms.

The application and understanding of mental health law within the trust will be strengthened, for example by appointing “mental health law champions” in teams.

There are also plans for team manager leadership programmes.