Statement on Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC) as ‘Requires Improvement’

March 7, 2023

Healthwatch Birmingham is disappointed that the overall rating for Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC) has been downgraded to ‘Requires Improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its latest inspection report.  While Birmingham Children’s Hospital is still ‘Outstanding’ overall and services within Birmingham Women’s Hospital continue to be rated as ‘Good’ – reflected in the positive feedback we receive about these hospitals in general – the new rating for BWC as a whole is due to the Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) mental health service being found as ‘Inadequate’.

Many of the issues identified by the CQC – such as the accessibility of FTB services, problems with care plans and poor co-ordination between mental health services – were also uncovered in Healthwatch Birmingham’s own investigation into FTB in 2021. As our recent impact report demonstrates, BWC has taken steps to address these concerns. The results of the CQC inspection must now provide further impetus to accelerate this progress.

Ensuring children and young people with mental health issues in Birmingham can get timely and effective support must be a top priority for BWC. Ultimately, the most important verdict on whether FTB is delivering the service its patients deserve comes from service users themselves. Healthwatch Birmingham is collecting feedback about FTB and we ask people to share their experiences of the service with us, so we can ensure that BWC is putting the interests of children and young people at the heart of the changes FTB requires.

The CQC has commended BWC’s willingness to engage with external organisations such as Healthwatch, and we have been encouraged by the trust’s positive response to our input and recommendations. Healthwatch Birmingham will continue to support FTB in its mission to provide high quality mental health support, and we call on BWC, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure FTB has the funding and resource necessary for this essential work.

Richard Burden, Chair, Healthwatch Birmingham

* Image by Oosoom at English Wikipedia licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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