There were 16 safety incidents at a dementia ward for elderly people over a period of just three months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about two services provided by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust after inspections in May.

Rating its wards for older people with mental health problems as ‘requires improvement’ - the lowest score - the health watchdog found problems with safety at Silver Birches ward in Chase Farm hospital.

Inspectors said that in the three months leading up to their visit there were five safety incidents related to accidents, trips and falls, and three safety incidents that involved violence and aggression.

They added that the lessons learned from previous safety incidents were not always shared with staff.

The CQC’s most recent findings, published today (October 11) have downgraded the rating for the trust’s wards for the elderly from ‘good’.

While safety and leadership were issues, services were awarded ‘good’ for how effective, caring and responsive to people’s needs they were.

Silver Birches ward was also found to have pleasing sensory areas for people with dementia, including halls painted to look like a street and people’s bedroom doors painted to look like front doors. 

The trust’s mental health crisis services and psychiatric ward at Chalk Farm were given an unchanged rating of ‘requires improvement’ by the health watchdog.

Inspectors found problems with the caseload for the Enfield crisis resolution and home treatment team, as well as with the number of staff who had completed mandatory training.

They also said that medicines were not always managed safely in the trust’s Enfield crisis services, as they relied on a clinic room in a different building to provide them.

This was resolved by the trust during the inspection by re-opening a closed clinic room.  

But the CQC’s most recent report also said that staff praised their work environment and said they felt comfortable raising concerns. 

It added that where people did not have the capacity to make their own decisions, these were made in close consultation with people’s families, taking into consideration their wishes, culture and history. 

Jane RayCQC deputy director of operations in London, said: “When we inspected these services, we found leaders needed to make further improvements to people’s safety in some areas of known risk.

“However, most people received care from kind, skilled staff who knew how to meet their needs.”

She added: “We’ll continue monitoring the trust to ensure people are safe and will return to assess whether improvements have been made.”   

A spokesperson for North London Mental Health Partnership, which runs the trust, said: "The safety, comfort and welfare of our service users are our highest priority and we have made many improvements since both inspections took place.

"We will now continue to focus on achieving the high standards the CQC noted in many parts of both services, consistently, across every area."

The trust remains rated 'good' overall by the health watchdog.