Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for Forward Thinking Birmingham, one of England’s largest child and adolescent mental health services, has seen its rating improve from inadequate to requires improvement. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a follow-up inspection after previously warning of enforcement action if changes were not made. While the report noted some improvements, it also highlighted areas that still require attention.
According to the CQC report, there have been improvements in the assessment and management of individual risks for children and young people. However, the report found that managers did not always take timely action. The trust has made efforts to ensure that the premises used by the service are suitable for its purpose. Nevertheless, the report found that the service did not always have access to the full range of specialists needed to meet patient needs. Although waiting times have decreased, the service was found to be challenging to access at times.
On a positive note, the report highlighted improvements in the way staff handled individual concerns about risks and collaborated with families and carers to develop care plans. However, feedback from 13 children and young people who used the service varied. Some expressed frustration over changing care coordinators, while others complained about rude staff. Communication was also identified as an area that needed improvement.
Matt Boazman, the trust’s chief executive, expressed gratitude for the report and acknowledged that there is still much work to be done. The trust has been given nine areas for improvement, including the need to ensure a sufficient number of qualified staff to meet the needs of children and young people. Moving forward, the trust aims to implement the actions outlined in its improvement plan, with the guidance of a group of experts by experience who are helping to shape the necessary changes for providing the best possible care.
Overall, the CQC’s inspection highlights both improvements and areas that still require attention in the children’s mental health services provided by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The trust acknowledges the report’s findings and remains committed to delivering the necessary changes to offer optimal care for children and young people.