The quality of community learning disabilities services in North Tyneside and Northumberland have been rated as outstanding by the independent regulator of health and social care services in England.
The services, delivered by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, were inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Its report praised the services for their innovative approach and person-centred culture. Inspectors noted that one carer said the service they received was ‘exceptional’ and another told them she did not know where she would be without them.
Clare Arnold, clinical manager for the community learning disabilities team in North Tyneside said: “This report is welcome recognition of the excellent care provided by our highly professional and dedicated staff on a daily basis and we would like to thank them for the commitment they show every day.”
The report highlighted that:
The services ensured that patients’ emotional and social needs were valued and listened to and their needs were catered for.
Patients and their families spoke consistently highly of the service and staff.
Patients were empowered to identify, understand, and manage their health needs.
Staff use creative ways to overcome obstacles and ensure that patients had accessible information.
Janet Harrison, clinical lead nurse for the learning disability community nursing service in Northumberland, said: “We are delighted with the findings of this CQC inspection report which highlights that staff offer care that is kind and promotes people’s dignity, and relationships between staff and service users and their families are strong, caring, and supportive.”
Dr Paul Lelliott, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and CQC lead for mental health), said: “It is clear Northumbria Healthcare’s community learning disabilities services are providing a safe, effective and caring service and CQC are pleased to be able to rate the quality of these services as outstanding.
“We saw an holistic approach to all elements of people’s care. It starts with the assessment and planning of people’s care right through delivery to the time when the patient is discharged or makes the transition to other services. We found that people’s individual needs were central to every decision made.
“It is clear that staff that were proud to work at the trust. They spoke highly about the management and culture at the trust and this was clearly reflected in the positive things that people told us about these services.”
The services are delivered by two separate teams which work slightly differently in each county.
In North Tyneside the community learning disabilities service for adults and young people includes behaviour assessment and treatment services, forensic support and a primary care liaison nursing service. The trust delivers community learning disability nursing, psychology, speech, and language therapy and occupational therapy.
In Northumberland the learning disability community nursing service operates under a partnership arrangement between Northumbria Healthcare and Northumberland County Council, to provide an integrated service to adults with a learning disability who live in Northumberland. The service is made up of registered learning disability nurses and support workers.
The community learning disabilities service was not included in the trust-wide CQC inspection which took place in November 2015 with Northumbria Healthcare overall being rated ‘outstanding’ in May 2016.