The Trust, which runs mental health services in the York area, has been ordered by a watchdog to make urgent improvements.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust gave its ruling after inspections between June and August.
She said she examined inpatient forensic departments due to concerns about unsafe staffing numbers and poor culture, as well as community mental health services for working-age adults, crisis services and community mental health services for children and adolescents.
She said crisis services have improved and are now rated as good, having previously been rated requiring improvement, but inpatient forensic departments have fallen from good to inadequate.
Brian Kranna, chief hospital inspector (mental health and community health services) at CQC, said inspectors found a poor culture in the wards, with staff saying they did not feel respected or supported.
“We found issues with staffing levels that affected the quality of care provided and patients were upset that their planned leave did not always happen because of this,” he said.
“We were concerned about staffing issues in child and adolescent mental health services in the community. People were waiting too long for assessments for autism, and there was a lack of support for people waiting for an appointment. However, we were told that the treatment was of good quality and the staff gave helpful advice.”
He added that the trust had begun to address such concerns and knew what additional improvements were needed. We will continue to monitor her and come back to check her progress. ”
The Trust’s CEO, Brent Kilmurray, said he fully agreed that there was still a lot of work to be done, and was already taking the necessary steps to address the issues highlighted in the report.
“The common denominator in most of the issues raised by the QQC is recruitment pressure,” he said.
“Reducing this pressure is our biggest challenge and we are working very hard to resolve this. There is a shortage of staff at the NHS level, and the problem is particularly acute in this region.
“This comes at a time when the demand for our services is particularly high and we have invested in recruitment for a range of vacancies and new roles to meet the demand.
The pandemic has meant employee absenteeism due to illness has been at an all-time high over the past 18 months. Against this background, our staff strives to provide the best possible care.”
He said the crisis teams – the first point of contact for those who need it most – have done particularly well to improve their ratings to good in really tough conditions.
“However, we apologize unreservedly for instances where the high standards we set for ourselves have not always been met. We are determined to change for the better.”