Croydon University Hospital has once again been rated 'requires improvement' by the Care Quality Commission following an unannounced inspection.

The report released by the CQC found that Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which is also responsible for Purley War Memorial Hospital, had not done enough since the previous inspection in 2015 (when it was also rated 'requires improvement') to warrant a better rating.

The way staff at CUH cared for patients with mental health needs was a big reason the CQC gave the rating it did.

"There was a lack of awareness and understanding among some staff about the care of patients with mental health needs, mental capacity assessments and deprivation of liberty safeguards," the report said.

"Staff had noticed an increase in inpatients with mental health issues.

"This placed immense pressure on the demands of staff. Staff wanted better supportive systems in place to help them.

"Staff told us they required more specialist help and training to ease the pressures they faced."

Although the trust was rated as 'good' for its surgery, end of life care and outpatients department, critical care was lagging behind.

The service was rated as 'requires improvement' for the safe, effective, caring and responsive categories while it got an 'inadequate' rating for well-led.

Despite this, there were some areas of "outstanding practice."

The report said: "The mortuary staff demonstrated a person centred approach to the care of families/friends following bereavement.

"They were flexible and considerate and embedded the values of the trust."

Chief executive of the trust, John Goulston, said it had been a challenging time, but was pleased with the progress the hospitals had made.

“The inspectors gave ‘good’ ratings to three of the four core services they inspected which reflects the progress we have made since 2015," he said.

“They praised the caring, compassionate and respectful attitude of our staff which is so important to ensure that our patients feel confident and well looked after.

"The inspectors also highlighted how more staff felt proud to work at the Trust and said our senior leadership team had improved, strengthened and become more stable, with a clear set of values.

“These are challenging times for the NHS, with ever increasing demand on our services and financial pressures, so we haven’t been able to progress as quickly as we hoped on some of our refurbishment plans such as enhancing our critical care environment.

“With the support of our excellent staff and the determination of our senior team, we are confident that the next time the CQC inspects us they will see further improvements have been made.”