The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised alarms regarding safety of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) ward at Chalkhill and consequently downgraded its rating from “good” to “requires improvement”.

This move came after the agency’s inspection, which was carried out in June.

Chalkhill CAMHS is at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

The ward’s inspection revealed concerns regarding patient safety and staff training, incidents causing harm, as well as low staffing levels.

It also flagged ineffective patient observation, and weak leadership issues.

Moreover, young patients and their families reported negative experiences, citing concerns about their safety.

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By GlobalData

According to CQC, the safety and leadership ratings declined though the safety concerns were identified earlier by the trust. An action plan was also devised, but it was not completely implemented.

CQC deputy director of operations in the south Neil Cox said: “When we inspected Chalkhill we found a decline in the quality of leadership at the service which was having an impact on the level of care being provided to the young people using this service.

“It was incredibly concerning some young people had come to harm, and others had been put at risk, because leaders had poor oversight, and didn’t always have good enough systems in place to keep them safe.

Neil Cox further highlighted issues such as poor oversight, a closed culture within the service, and blanket restrictions affecting patients’ rights.

On the positive side, the agency found improvements in the service’s management, including support to young people to move on from the service and access to a range of specialists.

Despite the rating decline for the CAMHS ward, the overall rating for the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust remains ‘good’.

Following the inspection, the CQC issued a warning notice to focus on improving governance quickly.

The CQC will closely monitor the service and conduct another inspection to examine whether improvements are in place.