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13 January 2022

CQC Rates ELFT Outstanding For Third Time

The CQC rates ELFT as 'Outstanding'
Ten picture of individual staff

First published 13 January 2022

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) has achieved its third consecutive ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC); the first Community and Mental Health Trust to achieve this rating for a third time.

The CQC found ELFT’s ‘overwhelmingly positive culture supported patients to achieve good outcomes’.

The rating has been confirmed after an inspection programme that included:

  • An announced core service inspection of mental health wards for older people

  • An announced core service inspection of forensics inpatient wards

  • Attendance at various meetings, forums and focus groups by inspectors

  • A well-led inspection of the Trust from October 26-27, 2021

The Trust’s overall rating remains 'Outstanding'.

Chief Nurse and Deputy CEO Lorraine Sunduza said:
“I would like to thank every colleague and service user involved in helping continue to develop a culture of quality that is embedded in our work every day.

An overall rating of ‘Outstanding’ is something colleagues should rightly take pride in, particularly after the unprecedented challenges we have faced over the last few years. However, this is not about standing still. There will always be areas we need to focus on to improve service users and carers experience of our services.”

Chief Executive Paul Calaminus said:
“This recognition for the CQC is a tribute to the work of all those within the Trust, despite the extraordinary challenges of recent times. This outstanding rating reflects the hard work already taking place, and the strong foundations on which the Trust can continue to build. As we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, we will continue to work to embed quality improvement and co-production in all our work in order to improve the health of the populations we serve.”

Trust Chair Mark Lam said:
“I am proud that we are the first Mental and Community Health Trust in England to achieve three consecutive Outstanding ratings in a row, reflecting the foundations on which all of the tremendous work here at ELFT is built on: our dedicated staff, People Participation and Quality Improvement.”

Jane Ray, CQC Head of Inspection for Mental Health and Community Health Services, said:
“We were impressed by the exceptionally positive culture we found across the trust. This helped staff feel valued and motivated about their work, supporting them to meet patients’ needs and wishes.

“Behind the Trust’s sustained success was leadership that understood the challenges it faced. Leaders went above and beyond to engage with patients, staff and other stakeholders to target resources and articulate a clear and shared vision of what they wanted to achieve for patients.”

The CQC has also rated the Trust as follows for its five key lines of enquiry:

Are services safe? Good
Are services effective? Good
Are services caring? Outstanding
Are services responsive? Good
Are services well-led? Outstanding

Key inspection points:

  • Inspectors found an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ culture across the trust. Staff told them they felt proud to work for ELFT and inspectors heard many examples of how staff put the people who use their services at the centre of their work. The senior leaders including the non-executive directors were open, friendly and approachable. People and teams were able to speak honestly and reflect on where improvements were needed and how this could be achieved
  • Inspectors found that despite the challenges of the pandemic, the trust had adapted, learnt and continued to make positive progress
  • The CQC was ‘inspired’ by the work being undertaken on race and privilege connected to the Black Lives Matter movement and the work taking place to improve staff wellbeing
  • Quality Improvement continued to be embedded and developed further across the Trust. This approach was being developed further to look at waiting lists for services especially as referrals were increasing. The Trust was making data available to teams to help them use a structured approach to look at demand and capacity of services and develop individual plans to improve patient flow
  • People Participation had extended since the last inspection and inspectors heard many examples where co-production was taking place. The number of people participation leads across the directorates had grown. The people participation team had responded to COVID with the development of a befriending service which had recruited volunteers and supported people who were lonely and isolated
  • There had been significant changes in the executive leadership team and non-executive directors – and these had gone well and provided an opportunity to improve the diversity of the board and introduce people with the breadth of experience needed to support the strategic direction of the trust. There had also been an expansion to the leadership capacity of the trust and associated governance, for example the development of a directorate to oversee primary care and the introduction of a chief digital officer to the executive leadership team
  • Partnership working had developed significantly since the last well-led review. Senior leaders were actively participating and leading in the two care systems where the majority of trust services were located.

Full details of the CQC ratings are available online here.