Royal Free rated ‘good’ with concerns over children’s mental health facilities

The entrance to the Royal Free Hospital. Photo : Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

The entrance to the Royal Free Hospital. Photo : Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire - Credit: PA WIRE

The Royal Free Hospital trust has been given a “good” rating by the care watchdog, but inspectors discovered private conversations could be overheard outside mental health therapy rooms

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave the trust a “good” rating, with “caring, compassionate and respectful” staff, but inspectors found mental health services for children and young adults needed improvement.

CQC inspectors found carers and patients felt the therapy rooms at the Royal Free site did not provide adequate sound proofing and discussions could be heard outside of rooms.

The service did not have CCTV to monitor the entrance and there were recent incidents of young people running away from the reception areas.

But inspectors were satisfied staff had a good understanding of risk and reported all incidents.

And inspectors praised exemplary work by the paediatric practice education team at the trust – which is responsible for running the Royal Free, Barnet General and Chase Farm hospitals.

Volunteers were praised for providing massages and supporting patients with dementia.

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But inspectors observed the number of consultants within the emergency department did not meet the London commissioning standards to provide 16 hours consultant cover daily.

There is ongoing recruitment and two additional consultants have recently been recruited.

Royal Free London chief executive David Sloman said: “We are delighted to receive a rating of ‘Good’ across all our hospitals and I am proud that the report highlights many areas of practice where we are delivering outstanding treatment to our patients [...] Staff should be incredibly proud of how well this reflects on their professionalism and the care and compassion they demonstrate every day.”

- For a full report, see this week’s Ham&High.