One of Cornwall's hospital trusts has said it is taking the latest CQC report "very seriously" after the body found services to be 'requiring improvement' overall.

The new CEO of the Cornwall Partnership Trust has also said she is "very sorry" after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report following a visit in March this year.

The trust oversees a number of Cornwall's community hospitals, including in Falmouth, Helston, Camborne Redruth, Newquay and Bodmin and their minor injuries units.

It also offers community health, mental health and learning disability services across Cornwall, and it was largely these services that the inspection focussed on, with urgent and emergency care services inspected in February 2022, and rated 'good'.

While in their latest report inspectors found that the services gave ‘outstanding’ care, they rated the trust overall as ‘requiring improvement’ in providing of safe, effective, responsive and well-led services.

The commission carried out a short notice inspection of the trust’s mental health wards for adults and psychiatric care unit, adult mental health community services, specialist community mental health services for children and young people.

They also conducted a first ever inspection of the child and adolescent inpatient wards (Sowenna CAMHS unit), which were rated good overall and good for being safe, effective, caring and well led.

Karen Bennett-Wilson, CQC director of operations, said: “During our inspection of CFT we found staff were providing outstanding patient care. This is to be applauded especially considering how badly affected Cornwall was by the Covid-19 pandemic."

She outlined the commission’s three main concerns as the poor repair of the trust’s estate, the lack of permanent staff and the resulting delays in treatment times. While acknowledging some of the issues were out of CFT’s control she said the CQC would be checking that improvements were made.

The report found that environments at a number of the locations visited were "in poor condition and not fit for purpose," which it said caused "a safety risk for patients using these services."

Inspectors told the trust it must take action to bring services into line with 15 legal requirements, including establishing an effective system for receiving, recording and responding to complaints, and have enough suitably qualified staff available to deliver care and treatment to patients in all services.

Other instructions relate to community-based mental health services for adults, specialist community mental health services for children and young people, and acute wards for adults and psychiatric intensive care units.

The full inspection report can be downloaded via

Debbie Richards, the new CEO of the Cornwall Partnership Trust, who started last October, said: “We are taking these findings very seriously and we must do better than this for the patients and communities we serve.

“Overall, the report’s findings are very disappointing, and we are very sorry. While we have being doing a huge amount to accelerate recruitment, improve retention and development of staff and improve the operational delivery and culture in the last 18 months, we need to do much, much more.

"Certain problem areas have already been addressed and it was good to see acknowledgement that some issues are not within our complete control, such as the repairing of rented buildings.

"Equally encouraging was the praise of initiatives such as the remote health monitoring for young people and offering appointments on beaches for those who find it difficult to engage with our services. I am very proud of our staff who have done outstanding work during the difficult times of Covid-19 and operational pressures.

“But there is still much to improve. We must do better and know we must do better. For every aspect of the organisation criticised in the report, we have put an action plan in place to sort out those issues that are hindering us from being the very best we can.

"Every single member of CFT staff has a part to play because we are all in this together and everybody can make a difference.”