Patients left at risk of abuse

  • A report by the Care Quality Commission have found that delays in a private mental health provider completing a "root cause analysis" of high numbers of safeguarding alerts at one of its services left patients at risk of abuse.

    In Feburary an inspection of Blackheat hospital's Cygnet Wing, a psychiatric intensive care unit, found that "aspects of care did not fully protect people". In the inspections report, it was highlighted that care to NHS patients from 38 areas in 2011/12 failed to meet four of six care standards it was assessed against.

    The Cygnet Wing notified CQC of high number of safeguarding aleart throughout 2012/13, including patient allegations of intimidation, bullying and aggression. CQC requested the provider complete a "root cause analysis" of the issue in September 2012, however February's inspection found that this work was yet to be completed.Waiting Room

    "This presented a risk that people who use the service were not protected from the risk of abuse by the provider taking reasonable steps to identify the possibility of abuse and prevent abuse from happening by making all the appropriate organisational changes required by the analysis," CQC's report found.

    A series of concerns were raised over the service but the report found that staff at the hospital engaged with patients in a "sensitive and calm manner".

    Some issues included that records were showing that national guidelines for resuscitating patients was not always followed. "Resuscitation equipment bags were cluttered, and staff members were not familiar with the equipment," inspectors found. It has also been bought to attention that they physical health needs of patients "were not always prioritised", with many patients not being told how to manage the unpleasant side effects they were experiencing from prescribed drugs. Patients were "not always supported" to be independent either, with many of them being restricted to the ward.

    "This service has undergone a further inspection on 22nd August 2013. We are confident that the evidence we provided to the CQC at that recent inspection demonstrates our compliance with the areas highlighted in the February inspection," a Cygnet Health Care spokeswoman said.

    The findings of a second CQC inspection report that was published last month failed Cygnet Hospital Stevenage against all seven of the care standards it was inspected against. It was found that staffing levels at the medium-secure unit were insufficient, identified issues with record keeping, and concluded that shortfalls in the hospital's seclusion areas compromised patient's "privacy and dignity".

    "The provider had not taken steps to address identified risks to people using the service, " the CQC report concluded.

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