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Ipswich: Mental health chiefs pledge revamp as report reveals record-keeping concerns at Woodlands unit

17:51 06 January 2014

Woodlands unit in Ipswich.

Woodlands unit in Ipswich.

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Mental health chiefs in Suffolk today reaffirmed their commitment to improving record-keeping processes after concerns were raised during an inspection at a centre in Ipswich.

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Inspectors said the risks of keeping both electronic and paper records at the Woodlands unit, based at the Ipswich Hospital site, was not being “effectively controlled” and that personal records, including medical records, were not always “accurate and fit for purpose”.

The report, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), also showed that staff had reported problems with the electronic patient record system (ePEX) used, which had caused some information about people to be deleted.

The report added that the trust had investigated this and prevented a reoccurrence.

The majority of the report was positive about the unit, both in terms of staffing and patient care, however officials from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) admitted the concerns about record-keeping needed to be, and would be, addressed.

Dr Jane Sayer, director of nursing, quality and patient safety at the trust, said: “With respect to the functionality of dual records keeping, this practice is a throwback to the ill-fated National Programme.

“As is the case with many acute and mental health trusts across the UK, it is our intention to introduce a dedicated Electronic Patient Records (EPR) system, hopefully in 2015.

“Such projects take some time to roll out because the system has to be configured to meet our very demanding requirements and, of course, all front-line staff have to be trained to use it.

“EPR projects have been wholly successful at other Trusts and I have every confidence that the issue of dual records keeping will soon be a thing of the past.

“In the meantime, our staff are being extra vigilant when reconciling digital and paper records.”

Elsewhere, the report showed that the Woodlands unit was meeting the standards set out in four of five key areas.

This included care and treatment plans being delivered in a way that ensured people’s safety and welfare.

The report added: “People were cared for by staff who were supported to deliver care and treatment safely and to an appropriate standard.”

Dr Sayer said: “We are delighted that the CQC found so much to be positive about at Woodlands and their report is a testament to the skills and tenaciousness of the management and staff who work there.

“Treating those under our care with respect, understanding and professionalism is cornerstone of what we do across the trust.”

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