Psychiatric hospital ordered to improve after failing to provide ‘caring environment’ for patients

A psychiatric hospital has been ordered to improve after a watchdog found it was failing to provide ‘a caring environment’ that respected patients’ dignity and helped them recover.

Cheadle Royal Hospital, in Heald Green, has in-patient wards for adults and children as well as specialist eating disorder services.

It was previously rated ‘good’ overall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at its last full inspection in 2017.

The service has now been downgraded to ‘requires improvement’ after officials identified a ‘number of concerns’ at a visit earlier this year.

This is despite the watchdog noting that ‘staff treated patients with compassion and kindness’ and ‘developed holistic, recovery-oriented care plans’.

The Priory Group, which runs the hospital, says it is ‘working hard to make the improvements identified’ by the CQC.

During the visit, safety was found to be ‘inadequate’ in the acute adult wards and psychiatric intensive care units, as well as on the child and adolescent mental health wards.

A newly published report notes that ‘not all wards were safe, clean, well equipped, well furnished, well maintained and fit for purpose’.

On the adult wards, inspectors found problems relating ‘to the maintenance of ward areas, furniture and some essential equipment’.

The inspection report reads: “Ward areas were mostly clean, but were not well maintained, and we found furniture that did not meet infection control standards.

“We found evidence that maintenance of ward areas was not being kept up to a good standard.

“We found paint and plaster peeling off doors and walls in a range of corridors and rooms that patients used. We found evidence of mould and damp in patients’ bathrooms and in some communal spaces.”

CQC officials raised the issue with the hospital and were told that a programme of maintenance had been agreed but was waiting to start.

Other concerns included chairs blocking a corridor that led to a fire exit – albeit these were removed ‘immediately’ after being brought to the hospital’s attention.

The service had also not ensured that all staff had access to alarms to alert colleagues in the event of an emergency, though,this was also dealt with promptly once raised.

And a lounge for women was being used as a visitors’ room, meaning it was not alway possible for female patients to make use of it. This did not reflect the Department of Health same sex accommodation guidance.

Wards for children and adolescents were found to be ‘generally clean, well furnished and fit for purpose’ but were not well maintained.

The report adds: “On Meadows ward, paint on the majority of doors was chipped and cracked. This did not contribute to a homely environment for the patients and was also an infection control issue, as it would not be possible to appropriately clean these areas.”

It continues: “On Orchard ward, we observed issues with mould in ensuite bathrooms and in the laundry room. There were also issues around maintenance not being completed in a timely manner.”

On all three children’s and adolescent wards, the yearly checks on essential equipment, including the defibrillator, had not been completed.

Staff were completing regular checks, however, as it had not been calibrated by the company responsible there was no guarantee it would work properly in an emergency.

CQC officials raised this as a matter of urgency during the inspection and the report notes that ‘the provider took actions to address this issue’.

The watchdog acknowledges that the hospital addressed the most serious concerns immediately.

However, it has also issued warning notices for two breaches of regulations ‘to ensure that swift action is taken, and plans put in place to maintain improvements’.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “We are working hard to make the improvements identified by the Care Quality Commission.

“Our maintenance programme was disrupted by the pandemic, when additional infection prevention measures were in place making it more difficult for contractors to access the site. Now that the restrictions have been lifted, we have made significant progress on our refurbishment plan.”

They continued: “Work has been completed on one PICU ward and is ongoing throughout the rest of the hospital. Prior to the inspection annual services for our safety equipment had been booked, and these have now been completed.

“We have ensured there are sufficient staff alarms, and that they are accessible on all wards. Governance processes have been reviewed, and are being strengthened where necessary.”

The watchdog acknowledges that the hospital addressed the most serious concerns immediately.

However, it has also issued warning notices for two breaches of regulations ‘to ensure that swift action is taken, and plans put in place to maintain improvements’.

Full article here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 16th November 2021

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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