Mental health provider gets ‘good’ rating

The Harbour in Blackpool
The Harbour in Blackpool

The health group responsible for running The Harbour in Marton and mental health services across the county has been rated ‘good’ by inspectors.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation’s Trust’s fresh ranking comes after it was previously found lacking – and following the death of a young woman at the flagship facility in Preston New Road.

An 80-strong team from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) spent a week looking at 13 core services, included nine told to improve in April 2015.

Dr Paul Lelliott, the deputy chief inspector of hospitals and the CQC’s lead for mental health, said: “Some of the trust’s problems [in 2015] stemmed from staffing issues.

“The trust staff have shown a real determination to follow up the issues we had identified and they have made improvements across most areas of the trust. We were particularly impressed by the work of the staff training and quality academy.

“There is no doubt this is improving the quality of patient care. We were impressed with the improvements we saw, and Lancashire Care should be proud of their new good rating.”

He added staff were now ‘more responsive’ to the needs of patients.

Last July, Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson ruled failings at The Harbour contributed to the death of 20-year-old Sally Hickling in the summer of 2015, after staff ‘inappropriately’ reduced observation levels on her and left her in her room for 21 minutes – more than double what they should have.

But he said he was satisfied bosses at the £40m facility had taken sufficient action to prevent future deaths.

And the CQC’s report highlighted praise from patients and carers and said wards at The Harbour were ‘of particularly high quality’.

However, access to adult beds at The Harbour remains a ‘particular issue’ it found.

In the past 12 months, patients were not given a bed within 72 hours as required 26 times.

And between March and August last year, 237 patients were sent out of the area for treatment by the trust.

Chief executive Heather Tierney Moore said: “This is a fantastic achievement and is solely down to the hard work and effort the trust has put into making improvements following the first initial inspection.

“Our staff provide the best possible experience to the people that use our services.”