Hos­pi­tal blasted over un­safe seclu­sion zones for young­sters

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - EX­CLU­SIVE BY MAR­TYN HALLE

A CHIL­DREN’S men­tal health unit has been or­dered to ur­gently raise stan­dards of care af­ter in­spec­tors found pa­tients were left in un­safe con­di­tions.

Of­fi­cials from the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion un­cov­ered fail­ings fol­low­ing a spot-check on St An­drew’s Hos­pi­tal in Northamp­ton.

The 100-bed unit has been vis­ited three times in the past three years by the CQC. But on its most re­cent check,

in­spec­tors found chil­dren were be­ing kept in un­safe seclu­sion rooms for ex­ces­sive amounts of time and with­out beds, blan­kets or pil­lows.

The CQC also found “the ma­jor­ity of seclu­sion rooms” lacked ba­sic fur­nish­ings – and there were ex­am­ples of pa­tients’ dig­nity not be­ing re­spected.

Of­fi­cials also re­ported find­ing safety risks posed by sharp edges in seclu­sion rooms, CCTV blind spots and lapses in checks on cut­lery which could lead to pa­tient harm. CQC deputy chief in­spec­tor of hos­pi­tals Dr Paul Lel­liott said: “We were par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about how the ser­vice re­sponds to pa­tients whose be­hav­iour staff find chal­leng­ing.”

He added that in some re­spects the “safety of care had de­te­ri­o­rated in the last three years.”

If stan­dards are not im­proved the CQC has the power to close the unit, which re­ceives tens of mil­lions of

pounds of pub­lic money each year. Some chil­dren – who are re­ferred to the unit via the NHS – un­dergo care cost­ing as much as £750,000 a year.

The Sun­day Mir­ror has spo­ken to sev­eral fam­i­lies who say they are con­cerned about the care their chil­dren have re­ceived at the unit.

They in­clude claims about staff us­ing ex­ces­sive re­straint on pa­tients. One par­ent is plan­ning le­gal ac­tion against St An­drew’s, the NHS and his lo­cal coun­cil.

In a state­ment St An­drew’s said it ad­dressed many of the safety is­sues iden­ti­fied.

It had closed the Northamp­ton ser­vice to new pa­tients tem­po­rar­ily while it made changes, in­clud­ing a re­view of seclu­sion and seg­re­ga­tion across its sites. Katie Fisher, chief ex­ec­u­tive of St An­drew’s Health­care, said: “We deeply re­gret that we have fallen be­low the stan­dards we aim to up­hold, and those ex­pected by the CQC.”

She added: “We are con­fi­dent that when the CQC re­turns to in­spect the St An­drew’s Health­care Child and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vice in the next six months, they will see sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment that will be re­flected in an im­proved rat­ing.”

FAIL­INGS Re­port rapped St An­drew’s unit

VOW Health chief Katie Fisher

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