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‘Inadequate’ children’s mental health hospital ‘put safety of patients at risk’ CQC report finds

Serious safety concerns have been raised about a children’s mental health hospital where staff lacked respect for patients, as the provider faces a police investigation into another one of its units.

The Huntercombe Hospital in Stafford has been rated as “inadequate” by watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors found the safety of children within the hospital was at risk.

The concerns about this hospital come as The Independent revealed police have launched an investigation into another mental health unit run by the provider in Maidenhead.

Following an inspection in October inspectors sent an urgent warning notice to the provider, after it found there were not enough staff to keep patients safe.

The hospital was described as relaying on agency workers who did not have knowledge of the patients.

The CQC inspectors found children’s wards were dirty with poor hygiene measures in the hospital and patients at risk of infection.

According to the report staff were found “sitting with their eyes closed for prolonged periods of time”, and that staff observations of at risk patients were “undermined by a blind spot where people could self-harm unseen.”

Craig Howarth, CQC head of inspection for mental health and community health services, said: “Further to these issues, we saw that staff sometimes showed a lack of respect to patients and one ward was poorly furnished and maintained and there wasn’t always enough emphasis on some people’s individual requirements.”

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Source: The Independent, 11 March 2022


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