An independent mental health hospital in Staffordshire has been rated inadequate.

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An independent mental health hospital in Staffordshire has been placed into special measures.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the Woodhouse Independent Hospital in Cheadle, in June.

The hospital, run by Elysium Healthcare, provides rehabilitation services for up to 39 men living with learning disabilities, autism or other complex needs. Some patients may have a history of offending or may have been admitted to the hospital as a consequence of being sectioned. 

The inspection found that significant improvements were needed, particularly around staffing and training. As a result, the hospital is rated Inadequate overall. It is rated Inadequate for whether it is effective and well-led. It is rated Requires Improvement for being safe, caring and responsive. 

When the hospital was previously inspected, in 2017, it was rated Good overall. 

Dr Paul Lelliott, 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. Forty percent of nurse and support worker posts were vacant, meaning the service was heavily reliant on unqualified agency staff who did not always know the hospital or its patients. Agency workers covered most night shifts, and pressures meant staff were often unable to take rest breaks or have regular one-to-one time with patients. 

“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 did not meet the needs of autistic people adequately. Managers had not carried out an autism-friendly assessment of the environment. There was no sensory room and no quiet areas on some wards to allow patients an opportunity to avoid noise and disruption. The service also did not ensure that the needs of patients with specific communication needs were met.” 

"Following the inspection, CQC reported its findings to the provider. As a result of our findings, the hospital is rated as Inadequate and it has been placed in special measures. This means the service will be inspected again within six months. 

“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.” 

The hospital has been told it must make several improvements, including: 

•    Managing ligature risks 
•    Storing and managing medicines safely 
•    Improving staffing levels and reducing risks associated with high use of agency staff 
•    Giving clear leadership 
•    Ensuring staff receive an induction, the right training for their roles, appraisals and appropriate supervision 
•    Learning from incidents 
•    Monitoring patients’ physical health, and maintaining comprehensive care plans and records 
•    Improving provision for people with autism 
•    Ensuring communication with patients is appropriately accessible. 

A full report of inspectors’ findings has been published on CQC’s website here: www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-121455021 

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