Independent mental health hospital placed in special measures after inspection

An independent mental health hospital which inspectors said “fell short of standards of care and treatment” has been rated inadequate and put in special measures.

The Woodhouse Independent Hospital, run by Elysium Healthcare in Cheadle near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, had previously been rated as good before the latest inspection report, published on Tuesday.

Following a visit in June, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the hospital was “inadequately staffed” and was “heavily reliant” on unqualified agency staff.

The CQC found 40% of nursing and support worker roles were vacant, agency staff covered most night shifts, and staff were often unable to take rests breaks or have regular patient one-to-ones.

Its inspection also found that managers did not provide staff with a proper induction, training, supervision or appraisals.

The watchdog said the hospital, which provides rehabilitation services for up to 39 men living with learning disabilities, complex needs and autism, needed “significant improvement”, particularly to staffing and training.

The inspection found it also “did not meet the needs of autistic people adequately” and had no sensory room or quiet areas.

Breaking down the overall rating, the hospital was rated inadequate for whether it was effective and well-led and as requiring improvement for being safe, caring and responsive.

As well as improving staffing, leadership and training, the hospital’s management has been told to it must do more on managing ligature risk, learning from incidents and storing medicines safely.

It must also ensure better monitoring of patients’ physical health, maintaining comprehensive care plans and records, improve provision for people with autism and communication with patients.

Dr Paul Lelliott (pictured), CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “The Woodhouse fell short of standards of care and treatment people should be able to expect.

“The hospital was inadequately staffed.”

He added: “Managers did not provide staff with the induction, training, supervision or appraisal that would have mitigated a lack of qualifications and specialist skills required to provide high-quality care to people with such complex needs.

“Staff did not monitor the physical health of patients consistently.

“The care plans they produced did not always reflect the assessed needs of patients, and staff did not update these when needed.”

The hospital, which can have patients with a history of offending or who could have been admitted after being sectioned, will be inspected again within six months.

Dr Lelliot added: “If at that stage we find that improvements have not been made, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to protect people’s safety.

“The hospital’s management knows what it must do to ensure all necessary improvements are made.

“We will continue to monitor the service, and this will include further inspections.”

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