Report shows services need improvement

AN NHS body has been rated one among the worst in the country for maternity and mental health services, latest statistics have shown.

NHS England has examined and graded the country’s 209 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for the first time.

Its findings showed more than half of mental health services and almost three-quarters of maternity care services at local NHS groups needed improvement.

For their maternity services, CCGs were assessed on four areas including women’s experiences and choices of maternity services, while mental health provision was assessed in two areas - the number of people moving to recovery following treatment, and those treated within two weeks of referral after a first episode of psychosis.

Of the region’s CCGs Darlington was one of 21 that fell into the lowest category for mental health while South Tees CCG was one of 11 requiring the greatest improvement for its maternity services.

However, the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group fell into the Greatest Need for Improvement category for both services.

The figures showed that while it was rated similar to others in the neonatal mortality and stillbirths and women’s experience of maternity services category, it was among the lowest scoring for choices.

And in mental health provision, only 45.5 per cent of people who finished treatment were moving to recovery.

Nationally, the figures have been hailed as a “positive step” for transparency although some North-East MPs said more needed to be done.

Commenting on the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG’s grade, Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman said: “Maternity and mental health are both very important areas of medicine. This should serve as a wakeup call to the CCG and I would like to see clear plans from them on how they will tackle this.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, added: “I think it’s important to have transparency about the standard of service.

“This will come as no surprise to many people working in the service and using services locally. What matters most is to put this right.”

Gill Findley, director of nursing at NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG said the group acknowledged the report, it was “important to consider the wider context when analysing composite indicators”.

Ms Findley said the CCG worked closely with its provider, the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, to “improve the choices women have in maternity service and are confident that the maternity services we commission are safe, and of good quality.”

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