The mother of a patient failed by a mental health trust has spoken of her shock and upset after its rating was upgraded by the health watchdog.

The North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) has been rated 'good' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), after being marked 'requires improvement' in 2019.

The CQC said NELFT had “really stepped up during the pandemic to meet the needs of local communities”.

The news comes after recent inquests heard of failures in care and employees testified under oath that problems were ongoing.

In July, east London coroner Nadia Persaud said she would raise formal concerns with the government over the safety of NELFT’s service.

The trust serves Havering, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Kent and Essex.

Jane Ray, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said NELFT staff had “made great strides, even dealing with the added pressures caused by Covid-19".

“We inspected at a particularly challenging time," she said.

“Despite this, we found the culture of the trust was much improved and staff felt more confident about raising concerns and having these addressed to drive improvement.”

Four Deaths

NELFT has admitted to mistakes in four recent inquests.

In July, the East London Coroner’s Court heard criticisms of NELFT's monitoring of two patients with histories of suicidal ideation who took their own lives.

Louise Allen, from Waltham Forest, received just five out of 18 required home visits. She died in June 2021.

Robert Burills, from Harold Hill, should have been checked multiple times per week but received no contact in the months before his death in January 2022.

Another patient, Sophia Yuferev from Hornchurch, was left with no care coordinator for months.

By the time she was noticed missing, she was so decomposed her exact cause of death could not be determined.

In August, a pre-inquest hearing into the death of Rosslyn Wolff, from Romford, heard NELFT had admitted to failings in her care prior to her death in January 2022.

Ongoing shortages

Problems in Louise, Robert and Sophia’s care were all attributed to staff shortages by NELFT.

Louise’s inquest – held weeks after the CQC’s June inspection – saw NELFT employees testify that staff shortages were still ongoing.

Robin Sookhan, an assistant director, testified that NELFT still had insufficient staff to properly care for patients.

“We are given a financial budget every year, but clinically what we need is more than what we currently are financially having,” he said.

He said NELFT now employed more staff than its budget allowed, but it was still not enough.

“There is a shortage of social workers, occupational therapists, even doctors,” he said.


Sophia Yuferev’s mother Maria Stockdale said she was “very upset” by NELFT’s upgrade.

Sophia’s inquest heard Maria had raised concerns about NELFT for years before Sophia's death.

“I’m shocked,” said Maria. “It’s another smash in the face.

“It’s not just happened to me. It’s happened again and again with other families.

“My life has absolutely changed. I will never be the same. Never. This is a horror for a family.

“I’m petrified it will happen to somebody again."

NELFT’s acting chief executive Jacqui Van Rossum said she was “proud of the dedication and commitment” of her staff, which had led to the improved rating.

“It is tremendously important for us to reflect on our achievements and improvements across the trust, but I am conscious that we must also learn from where we can do better,” she added.

“We want to ensure we deliver consistently high-quality care across the communities we serve and we are continuing on our improvement journey.”


The CQC said it would “continue to monitor the trust closely” and “will not hesitate to undertake further inspections or use our enforcement powers, if required”.

It said it felt NELFT had “responded appropriately” to problems highlighted in inquests and “demonstrated it is an open and learning organisation”.

“Staffing challenges are a significant issue across all health and social care providers, especially those providing mental healthcare,” said a CQC spokesperson.

“We are satisfied that the trust has suitable processes in place to monitor its staffing capacity and it is aware of the services where there are particular challenges.”