Police probe alleged abuse at mental health hospital
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Police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of abuse at a private mental health hospital - where inspectors found CCTV footage of staff dragging, slapping and kicking a patient.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said they witnessed staff shoving, dragging and hitting the patient in CCTV footage they reviewed at the now closed Cygnet Yew Trees, in Kirby-le-Soken.
They said the clips - viewed during an unannounced inspection of the 10-bed facility for women aged over 18, who have a learning disability, in July and August this year - showed “examples of staff abusing patients, acting inappropriately or delivering a poor standard of care”.
Essex Police has now said that, on July 21, it received a report of an assault at the hospital.
The incident was said to have happened two days earlier, on July 19.
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“As a result of this investigation, which remains ongoing, we have voluntarily interviewed two people, obtained witness statements and have reviewed CCTV footage of the incident,” an Essex Police spokesman said.
“Since an inspection by the CQC at Yew Tree Hospital, a number of other allegations have been raised and these have also been referred to our officers.
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“Those investigations also remain ongoing.”
There were eight patients using the service at Cygnet Yew Trees at the time of the CQC inspection but there is now nobody there, the CQC said.
The facility is rated as “inadequate” by the CQC and is subject to enforcement action.
Cygnet Health Care said in a statement that Cygnet Yew Trees is now closed.
A spokeswoman said: “Following our investigation into this incident and a separate incident that had also been recorded on CCTV, involving a second patient, we suspended eight members of staff and two agency workers.
“These included people we believe witnessed the alleged incidents and failed to report them.
“Four have since been dismissed.”
The spokeswoman said that the examples of “poor care that we have reported to the CQC are not reflective of Cygnet as a whole”, adding: “We are appalled by the actions of this small minority of staff at Yew Trees.”