Improvements have been made to the borough’s mental health services for young people - but more still needs to be done.
Health bosses have been working on an improvement plan for the Child And Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) since a whistleblower raised concerns in March.
It led to NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) carrying out an unannounced inspection, which found staffing issues, cancelled appointments, lengthy waiting times, low staff morale, lack of management supervision and some children not having a care co-ordinator.
Since then, the CCG has been working with North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs CAMHS, to develop and implement the plan.
They did a second unannounced visit in June to check the improvement plan was making a difference.
The CCG quality team found evidence that the service had made improvements in a number of areas, including the recruitment of additional practitioners, better staff support and improved patient and staff communications.
However, they found there was still more work to be done.
Julie Southworth, director of quality and safety at NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “I am pleased that progress is being made by CAMHS, however there is still work to be done to make sure that all the children and young people who need the service get access in a timely manner.
“As always, we will support the team and monitor the service to ensure it continues to improve.”
Norah Flood, clinical director of operations and integration at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We are pleased Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group has recognised the positive impact of the work done by the Wigan Child And Adolescent Mental Health Service Team to make progress in many areas. We are continuing to work to sustain and, where possible, further enhance these improvements.
“We have received funding from our commissioners enabling us to recruit to vacant posts which will significantly improve our ability to manage referrals and offer timely treatment.
“We are continually working with commissioners, young people and their families to look at where we can improve and we have also focused on how we provide information to enable young people to stay safe.
“Staff are consulted and fully engaged in making improvements and we have welcomed the commitment from all partners to continue to work as a whole system to develop pathways which enable us to provide safe and effective care for children and young people with mental health issues.”
The whistleblower’s concerns aren’t the first time the organisation has come underfire.
In 2011, it underwent a complete shake-up after a schoolgirl hanged herself, despite being referred as an emergency case.
The notes regarding Lowton High School pupil Poppy Bracy, 13, went missing and were not found until after her death, an inquest heard.
She was found hanged from her bedroom door by foster carers Karen and Steve Riley at their house in Bridgewell Drive, Leigh, on March 1 – a month after being identified as high-risk of self harm by school nurse May Woodcock, and being referred to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as an urgent case. Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that Poppy was not seen at all because her case documents were lost.
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