A WORCESTERSHIRE trust has maintained an overall ‘good’ rating following its latest inspection.

But concerns were raised about Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust's mental health services for adults of working age in the community.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlighted that these particular services were 'inadequate' during a wider inspection over planned visits in September and October 2019.

Inspectors said patients of working age with mental health problems in the south of the county were not kept safe as there were not enough staff to see and monitor them regularly.

The report flagged up a 'culture of bullying and harassment' reported by some staff.

Matthew Hall, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “At the root of our problems with the South CARS Team was a prolonged period of high staff vacancies and significant recruitment challenges and we accept that progress to address these staffing shortages has not been as quick or as effective as it should have been.

“We also recognise the strain this has put on the team and the impact this has had. We have now renewed our recruitment efforts, re-deployed existing staff from other areas and have worked with members of the team on ways to improve their wellbeing at work. By the end of January, we will have sufficient capacity across the team in order to meet the current workload and we will continue to improve the working environment for staff.”

The report said: “Not all staff in the south Community Assessment and Recovery Service (CARS) felt respected, supported and valued and they reported a culture of bullying and harassment. Not all staff had the opportunity to contribute to discussions about the strategy for their service, especially where the service was changing.”

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However, the report also stated: “Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness. They understood the individual needs of patients and supported patients to understand and manage their care, treatment or condition.

“Patients were encouraged to develop and maintain relationships with people that mattered to them.”

Within adult mental health services, the trust provides a range of support within the community. These help patients who have a long-term mental health condition within their own homes or normal place of residency.

On the other hand, mental health services for children in Worcestershire have been rated as outstanding – this is the first time the service has received the highest rating possible.

The team provides a countywide service for children up to 18 years and includes help for those with learning disabilities, a children’s eating disorder team and a youth offending team. As well as this, long stay or rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults have been ranked outstanding.

Sarah Dugan, chief executive of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “We are really pleased this report reflects the excellent care and treatment our staff provide across a range of services, sometimes in challenging and demanding circumstances. We are also equally committed to addressing the CQC’s recommendations for further improvement and we accept their findings relating to the Community Assessment and Recovery team in the south of the county. Work is already well underway to make the improvements necessary and we are focussed on ensuring patients accessing this service receive the high standards of care we would all expect. I would like to apologise to patients who have had difficulty accessing this service and confirm that we will continue to prioritise making rapid improvements to substantially improve the current position.”