Outstanding! Inspection success for Hackney mental health trust means it is rated joint-best in UK

Staff at East London Foundation Trust celebrate their 'outstanding' CQC rating (Picture: East London

Staff at East London Foundation Trust celebrate their 'outstanding' CQC rating (Picture: East London Foundation Trust) - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs mental health services in Hackney has won an elusive “outstanding” rating from the care watchdog.

East London Foundation Trust was given the top score by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection in June. It is one of two mental health trusts in the country ever to have gained it, the other being Northumberland.

The good news coincides with the appointment of new chief exec Dr Navina Evans. It means ELFT is Britain’s only health trust whose chair and chief exec are women from ethnic minority backgrounds – the chair is Marie Gabriel.

“It’s great but a bit sad,” Dr Evans told the Gazette. “There’s a lack of representation in the NHS, especially in higher positions.

“A large proportion of our staff are from minority backgrounds and we’re keen to make things better for our patients by representing them.” Hackney is a diverse borough, she added. The Turkish community, for example, has different needs and barriers to accessing services from those of the Afro-Caribbean community.

Though the “outstanding” rating doesn’t unlock any extra cash, Dr Evans said it “makes you work harder as people will be watching us”.

“We have to keep on at it,” she said. “It’s nice to have that sort of scrutiny rather than the sort that says you’re not good enough.”

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And she praised watchdog groups like Healthwatch for suggesting improvements.