Chalkhill CQC inspection results published

October 30, 2023

Following two inspections in June 2023, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has lowered its rating for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) ward at Chalkhill, from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

The overall rating for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust remains good. A copy of the inspection report is available here.


Inspection findings

Inspectors found:

  • Staff did not always manage risk well. Although staff completed daily environmental checks of the service environment, they did not always identify, remove or reduce risks that were evident on the ward. Repairs to the ward were not carried out in a timely manner which impacted on staff being able to keep people safe
  • Staff weren’t always able to keep young people safe from avoidable harm. There were high levels of repeated incidents which caused harm and potential harm to young people. Staff did not always identify and report all incidents or near misses and these were not always reviewed and investigated. Action was not always taken to prevent future incidents
  • Staff did not always develop care plans that appropriately reflected young people’s assessed needs. Care plans were not always personalised, holistic and recovery oriented. Staff did not always follow care plans when delivering care to young people
  • There was not enough staff deployed with the skills, expertise and experience to meet the needs of the young people
  • Staff did not always follow the trust’s policy and procedures when observing young people assessed as being at higher risk of harm to themselves and others
  • Feedback from young people, relatives and carers was negative. Young people did not always feel safe on the ward.

However, inspectors also found:

  • Young people eligible to take leave were able to take this with staff support
  • Young people had been supported to successfully move on from the service
  • There had been recent positive changes to the management of the service
  • Young people had access to a range of specialists including nurses, occupational therapists, physical health nurses, psychologists and social workers.

Chalkhill is 16-bedded mixed gender inpatient unit, is a sole mental health facility in the grounds of a general acute hospital, where young people aged 12-17 are admitted if they require assessment and treatment for acute mental health needs. They offer assessment and treatment of a wide range of mental health difficulties and needs, as well as support for eating disorders and disordered eating.

Following the inspection CQC issued a warning notice to focus the trust’s attention on making rapid and widespread improvements regarding good governance. CQC will closely monitor the service during this time to keep young people safe and will inspect again to assess if improvements are made.


The response from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

In response, Dr Jane Padmore, Chief Executive Officer, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) said:

“I am very disappointed that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessed we were not providing the quality service that children, young people and families rightly expect from us at Chalkhill. This follows their inspection of the child and adolescent in-patient mental health unit in June 2023.

As a team, we are determined to do better. We took immediate steps to act upon the CQC’s feedback and I’m confident we are making progress. This includes strengthening security and safety, our reporting and management processes and staff training.

I want to assure the children, young people and families who need our services that we are committed to providing high quality care and treatment. A vital part of achieving this involves listening to, learning from and acting in response to feedback from the people who use our services, our regulators and staff.”

Anyone with concerns or questions about Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust’s services is encouraged to contact their Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) at or on 0300 204 2398.


Healthwatch response

Healthwatch met with the Trust’s CEO, Jane Padmore, on 30 October and spoke about the CQC report and other patient issues. We were reassured by their Leaderships’ action already taken and commitment to delivering good patient care and experience at Chalkhill which in part will be delivered through their improvement plan; something the CQC also acknowledged.

Healthwatch will continue to monitor the progress made by SPFT in response to the latest CQC inspection at Chalkhill, and do all we can within our remit as the area’s health and social care champion to represent the patient voice within this process. The Trust expressed a desire to work more in partnership with Healthwatch and we will be setting up meetings with their Directors for patient experience and engagement shortly, to ensure that patient’s voices lie at the heart of improved care.

We would welcome people sharing their experiences of these services, both now and in the future. This can be done by using the contact details below or by leaving a review on our Feedback Centre.


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Telephone:  0333 101 4007 


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