The best rated mental health trust in Midlands and East

Hi all...

Last week was really fantastic to be able to demonstrate to the communities we serve that all Combined Healthcare’s services are rated by the CQC are either Good or Outstanding. This has only been achieved through the enormous commitment and dedication of our Outstanding staff!

It was a week when we took huge strides forward after months of work and effort. I felt really proud to be the Chief Executive of Combined Healthcare.

As the CQC were only able to give us a few days notice that they were publishing our results - we didn’t have time to arrange a celebration event - we are planning to hold one in March to say a massive thank-you to our staff, service users and partners.


CQC confirm we're amongst the very best in the country

Months, and in some cases years, of hard work and dedication got their reward on Wednesday when the results of our latest CQC inspection were officially released.

It made me so proud to be able to announce that - for the first time in the Trust's history - every Combined Service had been rated as "Good" or "Outstanding". 

Combined Healthcare is the best rated mental health trust across the whole of the Midlands and East of England and third highest in the whole country - only 1 of 3 with every service rated at least Good and at least two Outstanding.  

It is so fantastic and a credit to our CAMHS Community staff that all their services have been rated Good in every domain which is such an achievement from where they have come from - really well done to you all.

Also our staff working in Florence House and Summers View have demonstrated that they are delivering the highest standards of acre for their service users with an overall rating of Outstanding - a massive thank-you and well done to Carolyn Wilkes and the team - you should be rightly very proud. They have now joined the Older Peoples’ Community Services OUTSTANDING club - well done to you all.

The CQC results confirmed that the Trust's journey of improvement - labelled last year by the CQC as the fastest improving mental health trust in the country have continued. Amongst many compliments, the CQC found - 

  • "The overall culture of the trust was very patient-centred. Staff treated patients with dignity, respect and compassion and most experienced high morale and motivation for their work." 
  • "There had been significant improvement in the reduction of waiting lists in the child and adolescent mental health services and the adult community mental health services since the last CQC inspection. All teams were meeting the national waiting time standards."
  • "We found staff to be dedicated, kind, caring and patient focused. The local management and leadership of services were both knowledgeable and visible. Staff we talked to during inspection spoke highly of their managers and told us that a more positive and open culture had continued to develop since our last inspection."
  • "We were particularly impressed by the level of care offered to patients in the long stay and rehabilitation wards and the community based mental health services for older people, both of which were rated Outstanding overall. " 

To be able to continue to improve upon last year's fantastic results is something quite remarkable.  It is a tribute to the continuing sheer determination, talent, dedication and ability of our fantastic staff.

We are not complacent and we want our journey of improvement to continue.  We will be continuing our quality strategy to deliver Safe, Personalised, Accessible and Recovery focused services based on integrated locality working across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent..

One of the areas of improvement that we need to focus on more in the coming months is our approach to medicines management - there were some issues across some services under the Safe domain that we need to improve - we will be giving this our priority in the coming weeks and would welcome support from everyone.

These latest inspection results comes on top of our Community CAMHS Team being spotlighted in the latest edition of the CQC regional publication highlighting great practice and innovation. We are also proud that we have been chosen by the CQC as a national mental health exemplar and will be delighted to share our journey of improvement with other organisations.

Senior Leadership Team meeting discusses move to locality working

We continued our engagement on our plans to move to locality working with a session at last week's Senior Leadership Team meeting.  It was a really stimulating discussion with plenty of views aired and suggestions made.  We will be taking all the comments on board and combining them over the next few weeks with everything else we've heard and learnt as we develop our plans in conjunction with our staff.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the session - it's really valuable to hear continue to hear everyone's views and opinions as we move forward. 


Launch of the Justin Griffiths Scholarship Award

Justin Griffiths was an exceptional and special person – respected and valued by friends and colleagues alike. His dedication, professionalism and service, enriched the lives of so many others – colleagues, service users and their families.

He joined Combined in 1997 as a young Nursing Assistant, before qualifying as a Social Worker and an Approved Mental Health Practitioner. 

He dedicated his whole working life to Combined Healthcare. In memory of Justin, we have today launched the Justin Griffiths Scholarship Award. This award will:

  • Support Social Workers, Best Interest Assessors and Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) to develop their knowledge and skills, to improve the lives of others
  • Encourage research, development and education within our Mental Health and Learning Disability services reflecting the work practice of the above professionals
  • Provide a scholarship/s to those who are undertaking professional development through study, research or experiential learning
  • Apply funds to identify the benefits for the individual, service users or the professional field at large and could be academic courses, workshops, book funds, costs associated with experiential learning (travel, hotels) etc
  • Have an annual cycle that will be managed by the Education and Development Team by setting up a scholarship page on SID, informing the eligible staff groups, identifying the annual process from application, reviewing, decision making and awarding
  • Ensure the Trustees of the Justin Griffiths Scholarship review each application and make the final decision for each application
  • The Trustees will be Nicky Griffiths, Quality and Governance Lead for Adult Community services and Service Manager for the Moorlands CMHT, myself, our Service User and Carer Council Chair Wendy Dutton, Director of Nursing & Quality Maria Nelligan and a Clinical Representative (Social Worker, BiA or AMHP)
  • The cycle will culminate with the scholarship/s being awarded at the annual REACH Awards


This application form contains guidelines for on how to apply – please ensure you read these prior to completing the form. The deadline to apply for the Scholarship is Monday 30 April - good luck and thanks very much.