Damning report into private hospital slams care as ‘unacceptable’

Cygnet Hospital in Boxted Road, Colchester, has been placed in special measures Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Cygnet Hospital in Boxted Road, Colchester, has been placed in special measures Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

Staff at a private mental health hospital in Colchester have vowed to turn things around after a damning inspection report placed it in special measures.

Dr Paul Lelliott of the Care Quality Commission Picture: Philip Wolmuth

Dr Paul Lelliott of the Care Quality Commission Picture: Philip Wolmuth - Credit: Archant

Cygnet Hospital Colchester, in Boxted Road, was rated 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a visit earlier this year highlighted a number of "serious concerns" at the facility.

Inspectors said there were 70 occasions between January and March 2019 where there were insufficient nursing staff available on shifts.

Following a visit on April 9 and April 15, and a further review of evidence on May 2, assessors found the care offered "fell well below the standard that people should expect to receive".

Cygnet Hospital has been told to make a series of changes.

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The provider must:

- Carry out a reassessment of risks and needs for existing patients and develop care and risk management plans.

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- Ensure adequate systems are in place to monitor, assess, manage and mitigate risks, and act in a timely manner to address issues of concern for patient safety.

- Implement an appropriate system to ensure that thorough incident investigations take place in a timely manner and that there is a robust system to share learning and actions from these with staff.

- Have an adequate system to ensure incident investigation actions are completed to prevent the risk of reoccurrence.

- Ensure that staff have the required qualifications, skills and experience.

What did inspectors have to say?

The CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Dr Paul Lelliott, described the care as "unacceptable" - adding that admissions to the ward will be limited to ensure the safety of patients.

He said: "It was extremely disappointing to find that, despite highlighting the issues in our 2018 inspection, staff were still not receiving regular training, supervision, appraisals, or the specialist training they needed to work with patients with personality disorders.

"We will continue to monitor the service closely and if urgent improvements are not made to ensure people are safe, we will take action to prevent the provider from operating this service."

The independent hospital, rated 'requires improvement' after an inspection last year, admits adults with mental health problems and provides both acute care and rehabilitation.

It also has a ward for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Since the findings were published, staff at the hospital have vowed to improve standards by implementing an action plan.

'We are taking immediate action'

A spokesman from Cygnet Health Care said: "We acknowledge the CQC's recent report on Cygnet Hospital Colchester, which noted a number of concerns we need to address in terms of the service we provide.

"Following the CQC's inspection in November last year we took a number of steps to address the issues raised. We note the issues raised in the CQC's most recent report, based on the inspection in April of this year, and we have developed a comprehensive action plan to immediately address these concerns."

The hospital confirmed it is reviewing staffing arrangements to try and eliminate the use of temporary workers.

'Wellbeing of residents is a priority'

Bosses at Essex County Council said they are aware of the concerns at Cygnet House.

"The health and wellbeing of residents and those receiving care is a priority," a spokesman for the authority said.

"We are working closely with Cygnet Colchester and key partners to oversee the necessary improvements highlighted in the report."

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