Mental Health

06.02.19

Hospital where patients voted on each other’s seclusion placed in special measures

A major provider of mental health services has had one of its hospitals placed into special measures after inspectors were “troubled” to find “a number of serious issues,” including failure to protect patients from risks of harm and a lack of respect for people’s dignity.

The CQC rated St Andrew’s Healthcare Nottinghamshire as ‘inadequate’ in a damning report on the independent hospital for men detained under the Mental Health Act.

The report found that staff at the hospital did not adhere to the Mental Health Act Code of Practice when using seclusion, and staff allowed patients on one ward to vote on whether to end or continue other patients’ seclusions.

Inspectors identified several potential ligature anchor points, placing patients at risk with out of date risk assessments – contributing to the CQC’s assessment that “staff did not protect patients from avoidable harm or abuse.”

Patients told the inspectors that, on some wards, staff ignored them and did not respond to basic requests, such as for going to the toilet and for food and medicine.

In one case, staff searched a patient in the communal area in front of peers, and the CQC were critical of the leadership at the hospital for failing to ensure its staff worked within legal frameworks.

Dropping from a ‘good’ rating in 2015 to special measures, St Andrew’s Nottinghamshire will now receive another inspection within six months when the CQC will take action to prevent to provider from operating the service if insufficient improvements had been made.

The chief inspectors of hospitals and the CQC’s lead for mental health, Paul Lelliott, stated there had been a “real deterioration” in services and said “significant and urgent improvements were needed.”

“Inspectors highlighted a number of serious issues. These included that people were not protected from the risks of harm. Staff did not always respect people’s dignity and privacy or respond promptly to their needs.

“These findings are troubling.  We have told St Andrew’s Healthcare that they must take immediate action to address the problems that our inspectors identified.”

A spokesperson for St Andrew’s Healthcare said it “deeply regrets” a number of instances where care provided to patients fell below the expected standards, and said it has acted decisively by closing the hospital to new admissions.

 “We are now undertaking a clinical review and strengthening operational oversight under new management,” adding that “we must make significant improvements in a few key areas.”

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