Norfolk mental health trust told to improve leadership and strategy in new report
The body responsible for mental health services in West Norfolk has "weak clinical leadership" and "no clear sense of direction", according to a new report.
The comments are contained in a review by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) into the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which has been published today.
It has made a number of recommendations for improvements to leadership, including simplifying its management structure, monitoring of care quality and risk, as well as learning from serious incidents and complaints.
Although the report says work has already begun on some of those areas, the trust says it is about to start a "wholescale cultural improvement programme."
The report was commissioned by NHS Improvement after the trust was placed into special measures for a second time last autumn, following a Care Quality Commission inspection.
Its remit was to look specifically at issues of leadership and governance, as well as the trust's broader culture.
PwC said the trust's executive and staff had worked hard to improve safety following the assessment, but warned that needed to be "sustained by strengthening leadership, governance and culture across the organisation."
The report added: "The Trust is operating without a clear strategy or sense of direction, impacting on the Board’s focus, prioritisation and decision making, and its ability to engage staff in the delivery of improvement.
"The Trust is operationally and managerially led with weak clinical leadership. This will undermine efforts to make sustainable improvements to quality."
It identified five immediate priorities for the trust, including the development of clear accountability frameworks, a 12 month improvement strategy, more consistent presentation of performance data, greater risk management support and an improved governance framework.
In response, trust chairman Gary Page said its board, who are due to discuss the report at a meeting in Norwich later today, would not "shy away" from its conclusions.
Chief executive Antek Lejk said two senior executives would be appointed this week and interviews were ongoing for a new chief nurse.
He added: “We are about to embark upon a wholescale cultural improvement programme and a staff engagement programme using external expertise.
"These will ensure we create an environment of continuous learning, which supports our approach to quality improvement, where our staff can participate at all levels and feel able to deliver and lead the improvements we need to make.
"This is just the beginning and there is much more to do to ensure our services are consistently safe, effective and responsive.
“Thanks to our staff, a lot of hard work has gone into making short term improvements to immediately address safety issues following the CQC report.
"But we need to embed these, and move into the medium and longer term planning now, digging down deep into the underlying issues and putting them right once and for all.
“This will continue to be challenging, but by fully involving our staff, our service users and carers in devising, agreeing and implementing the improvements, we believe we can achieve our aims.”