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Hospital issued with two warning notices after CQC finds ‘deep-seated cultural issues’

The CQC has issued two warning notices and demanded improvements at Cygnet Hospital, Godden Green, after a number of “deep-seated cultural issues” and incidents regarding the welfare of young patients.

Inspectors have issued the two urgent warnings requiring the hospital in Sevenoaks in Kent to improve its oversight systems and its delivery of safe care and treatment, and the hospital has also agreed to reduced its service until improvements have been made.

The CQC made the urgent unannounced inspection at the service to follow up on concerns raised by staff and external stakeholders about the number and severity of incidents affecting the health and young people on the wards.

The CQC’s head of hospital inspection Pauline Carpenter said she was “concerned at some of the deep-seated issues we have found over a number of inspections of Cygnet Hospital.”

The hospital has been criticised over its care standards in recent years and was put under ‘enhanced surveillance’ by inspectors after a previous visit “because of the nature of our concerns,” which has now been followed up by two new warning notices.

The last inspection found that some senior and ward managers did not have the skills and knowledge to perform their roles, and staff described a culture that did not value staff or encourage them to speak up.

Inspectors found the hospital was not entirely clean, with “food trodden in the main corridors” and dirty marks on the furniture and walls throughout the wards.

Other issues included a lack of therapeutic activity and engagement between staff and young people, inappropriate communication between the hospital and external agencies and incidents which required a safeguarding referral were not always a true and accurate reflection of the incident.

There had also been no permanent manager on the Littleoaks ward for several months, which staff said had impacted the quality of care and staffing levels.

Carpenter said: “Following this new inspection, we have issued two warning notices. The provider has brought in managers from other services to focus on improving quality and safety and agreed to reduce the number of available beds until they have made the required improvements.

“In the past the hospital had been under enhanced surveillance by our inspectors, alongside a range of other stakeholders, because of the nature of our concerns. During that time there had been a number of improvements, but the problems have resurfaced.”

She added that the CQC will continue to work NHS England, the local CCG, provider and council to deliver improvements, and will consider further action if no progress is made.

Just last week the CQC took enforcement action at a home care provider in North Tyneside and cancelled its registration after a damning inspection following a tip-off from police.  


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