Publish date: 4 October 2023

In July 2023 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection at the Fromeside Unit which is at Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol.

It is an 81 bed medium secure service and cares for people with a mental illness and/or personality disorder who also have a criminal history or risks and behaviours that mean they cannot be treated in mainstream mental health services.

The CQC report following this inspection is available on their website:

While there is lots to be proud of in the report, our overall rating for the service has gone down from Good, to Requires Improvement. The rating will cover all our forensic inpatient and secure wards, although only Fromeside was inspected.

Since the inspection we have made good progress in addressing many of the issues which were highlighted, for example:

  • We have started a project to reduce noise on the unit and provide calming, sensory spaces for patients to use;
  • Reviewed the activities available for patients on the wards; and,
  • Improved access to outdoor spaces and other communal areas

The report also makes consistent reference to an over-reliance on temporary/agency staffing and its impact on the overall service we provide.

While workforce challenges remain for many NHS services including in mental health, our use of agency workers on Fromeside has reduced over recent months.

We have also made improvements to how we train and integrate temporary workers on the Unit, and where we need to use temporary/agency staff, we are looking to have people on longer-term placements to improve consistency and continuity of care.

The reports also says that patients told inspectors they ‘felt safe’ on the ward, and the CQC said that the service ‘provided safe care’ and that wards were ‘safe and clean’. There was also positive feedback about the way the service was run, and for the leadership team we have in place.

Sarah Jones, Director of Nursing and Quality at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Healthy Partnership NHS Trust (AWP), said: “We’re disappointed with the overall outcome of this inspection and our focus is on addressing the issues highlighted in the report.

The report also acknowledges many examples of really good care being provided by our staff who work incredibly hard supporting people with very complex needs. We have made good progress since the inspection, and are committed to working with our staff to ensure those improvements continue and are sustained.”