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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Inspection report highlights caring and innovative services at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Published: 09/09/2014

The services at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have been rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the national body responsible for checking whether healthcare services are meeting national standards.

This follows a stringent four-day inspection of the Trust in May this year during which more than 30 CQC inspectors visited services across the Trust talking to service users, carers, staff and senior managers.

They found the Trust was providing a good service that was organised to meet the needs of local people and that staff treated people with kindness, dignity and compassion.

Inspectors also highlighted many examples of innovative and best practice including:

  • ‘Street Triage’ where the Trust works  in partnership with West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service to provide responsive and appropriate care to those  in mental health crisis, avoiding them  ending up in police custody or A&E
  • Rapid Assessment, Interface and Discharge service, provided by the Trust  in all local acute hospitals to  ensure people admitted to hospital quickly receive the responsive psychiatric care and treatment they need, meaning shorter stays in hospital
  • pilot project in partnership with British Transport Police which identifies and protects people who may be at risk of suicide close to railway lines or train stations
  • strong research focus within the neuropsychiatry service
  • high standards of person-centred and innovative care in older people’s services
  • specialist acute wards such as our service for deaf people and for young women under 18
  • excellent links between the perinatal mental health service and maternity units in local acute hospitals.


The inspection report praises the Trust’s leadership, commenting that staff felt engaged and well supported. It also highlighted its innovative approaches to staff engagement, which include ‘Dear John’, an online facility for staff to directly contact the Chief Executive with concerns, and Listening into Action, which empowers frontline staff to make improvements to patient care.  Service users told inspectors they felt listened to and were able to provide feedback to the service and were often complimentary about the kindness and support shown by staff.

There were some individual services where inspectors identified improvements that were required, and the Trust has already taken action to address these, including ensuring safe storage of medicines, assessing ligature risks, improving records accuracy, meeting physical healthcare needs, ensuring dignity and respect for patients, maintaining equipment and working with commissioners to reduce waiting times in neuropsychiatry.

The CQC’s good rating is the third endorsement of the Trust in two weeks, and follows its inclusion in the Health Service Journal’s best places to work in the NHS and 10 of its sites scoring 100 per cent for the quality of their ward food in the latest Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) survey.

John Short, Trust Chief Executive, said: “The CQC’s rating of the Trust is testament to the unstinting efforts of our staff and managers in ensuring that we continually strive to provide high quality, innovative mental health services in the best possible environment for our service users, carers and staff.

“We recognise, however, that in caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community we can never be complacent and we constantly seek to learn from occasions when things go wrong, identify improvements and take swift action, as we have done following this inspection.”