Mental health hospital in Bury where patients were ‘bullied and abused by staff’ put into special measures

A report found staff ‘could be patronising, antagonistic, rude and made negative comments about patients’

A hospital where patients say they were ‘bullied and abused by staff’ has been placed into special measures. Cygnet Bury Hudson has been ordered to improve safety after its overall performance was judged to be ‘inadequate’, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in June.

The hospital, off Bolton Road in Bury, provides low and medium secure inpatient mental health services for men and women across six wards and 78 beds. The service was last inspected in July 2020 when it was registered as Cygnet Bury.

Since April 2021, the location has been split into three and this is the first inspection at this location. During the recent visit, inspectors say patients told them they were being ‘bullied and abused by their peers and staff members’ and that they did not feel safe on wards.

A damning report published today reveals there were also issues with safeguarding, complaint handling, medicines management and staff attitudes to patients and carers.

“Staff were not always discreet, respectful or kind when caring for patients,” the report adds. “Patients and one carer told us staff could be patronising, antagonistic, rude and made negative comments about patients.”

Inspectors also found a security breach had led to a patient’s offence being disclosed to others. They then had to be moved to another ward after receiving verbal abuse and being attacked.

Meanwhile, ward environments were not always comfortable for patients, said officials. The report continues: “A problem with the central heating system was causing the heating to come on even though it was warm which was making the temperature in the hospital uncomfortable for patients and staff.

“On one ward, patients’ sleep was being disturbed by slamming doors and lights from a sensor shining into their bedroom.”

Staff turnover within the service was also found to be high, although managers were reported to be taking steps to address the issue.

Brian Cranna, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection for mental health and community services, said: “During our inspection of Cygnet Bury Hudson, leaders had a good understanding of the service, however we found a number of very concerning issues.

“People told us they were being bullied and abused by other patients and staff members, and that they didn’t feel safe on the wards. They told us staff weren’t always discreet, respectful or kind, and sometimes made negative comments about them. This is totally unacceptable and no-one using health and social care services should experience this kind of treatment.

“Inspectors found safeguarding issues weren’t always recognised and managed effectively by staff, and patients’ needs weren’t always being put first. A security breach had led to a patient’s offence being disclosed to others and they had to be moved to another ward after receiving abuse. This must be addressed as a priority to keep people safe and protected from harm.

“Staff were also unable to find information we requested which meant they didn’t always have timely access to important information needed to deliver appropriate care.

“However, staff minimised the use of restrictive practices and used de-escalation techniques to minimise the use of restraint on the wards. Also, blanket restrictions were in accordance with identified risks and were reviewed regularly.

“We have told the provider to make improvements to ensure that people are safe, and we will monitor the service closely to ensure these are made and fully embedded. If they are not, we won’t hesitate to take the appropriate action needed to drive the necessary improvements.”

A spokesperson for Cygnet Health Care said: “Although we are disappointed with the outcome of the inspection at Cygnet Bury Hudson, we have already started making improvements to address the challenges raised by the CQC. We take their feedback seriously and were reassured that the CQC identified many positive aspects in the care we provide, including a range of treatments suitable to the needs of the patients and in line with national guidance about best practice.

“Patient safety is always our priority and any safeguarding concerns that were identified during the inspection last June have already been addressed. We have strengthened our systems to ensure any future incidents are recognised and managed effectively.

“We will continue to work closely with patients and their loved ones to hear their feedback, make sure they feel listened to, and act upon it when appropriate. Despite the recruitment challenges faced across the sector, we are recruiting more specialist staff so that patients have access to the experts they need.

“Our Quality Assurance Managers, the recruitment of additional Quality Assurance Staff, and the commencement of a patient-led Quality Improvement Project, will further contribute towards improved patient experience.

Full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 12th September 2022

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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