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Evaluation of a new service improvement programme at a mental health trust

The client

A mental health foundation trust, Healthcare sector

Challenge

Quality Assessment and Improvement.

A large mental health foundation trust identified serious service failings in one of its community mental health teams (CMHTs). The service failings were uncovered as a result of routine reviews of performance data, including information about complaints and serious incidents. The trust introduced a new accelerated service improvement programme designed to turn around the CMHT’s performance. One year on, it wanted to know whether the programme had been successful and if it could be used to improve the quality of patient care in other parts of the trust.

Our challenge was to independently evaluate the impact of the intervention programme and to recommend how it could be adapted for use in other parts of the trust.

Scope

Verita offered expert consultancy and an independent evaluation of the programme.

Process

We interviewed members of the trust’s intervention team and the community mental health team. We also reviewed the CMHT’s performance data before and after the intervention and measured the impact of the separate elements of the programme. The Verita team involved managing director Ed Marsden and director Tariq Hussain.

Findings

We were able to demonstrate that the new year-long programme had transformed the CMHT’s performance, with both patients and staff gaining from the intervention.

Recommendations

We recommended that the trust introduce the improvement programme more widely, but in a more structured way. We put forward a scaled approach for programme improvement, with a ‘menu of interventions’ for the trust to choose from depending on the problem to be tackled and the level of concern. We also established clear criteria for different levels of concern.

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