UK Commission finds violations, abuses at women's psych facility

December 27, 2011

A PSYCHIATRIC hospital in Sheffield has been ordered to improve after inspectors raised ‘major concerns’ about the safety of vulnerable patients.

The Care Quality Commission found private women’s facility Alpha Hospital, on East Bank Road, Norfolk Park, had failed to comply with seven of the Government’s standards for quality and safety.

Inspectors found one woman was going without her medication because the hospital did not have the right drugs, and staff had failed to notify the council over allegations patients were mistreated.

But Alpha Hospitals, which has run its Sheffield branch since 2001, said it has already made improvements based on the inspection report.

Jo Dent, regional director of the CQC, said: “We have particular concerns about the hospital’s arrangements for dealing with safeguarding concerns.

“None of the staff we spoke with understood the procedure for referring safeguarding concerns to the local authority.

“When we checked records relating to incidents of restraint, we were told of two occasions where the patient had been administered rapid tranquillisation, but a doctor had not been called in. No-one could explain why. Patients’ complaints were investigated by the provider but were not referred to the local authority as they should have been.”

Inspectors also discovered staff were imposing ‘unnecessarily restrictive’ rules at the hospital.

There were not enough staff to deliver proper care.

The hospital also failed to provide facilities for patients to practise their faiths, failed to provide effective assessment and monitoring of care, failed to adequately listen to or address patients’ complaints, and did not properly keep patient records.

A hospital spokeswoman said the company ‘immediately developed’ an action plan after the CQC raised concerns in November. When inspectors visited again they were ‘pleased with the improvements made’, she said.

She added: "We take the care and safety of patients extremely seriously."

Source: "‘Failings’ at psychiatric hospital raise concerns," The Star, December 27, 2011.


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