Mental Health Hospital Closed After CCTV Revealed Staff Abusing Patients
A Staffordshire mental health hospital has been shut down after CCTV footage revealed abusive behaviour by staff.
According to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 18-page report on Eldertree Lodge, an inspection uncovered several incidents of abuse, with two occasions of doors being slammed on patients and others being dragged by staff to the ward seclusion room. Six incidents were also caught on CCTV between February 27 and April 13 this year.
Operated by Coveberry Limited, the hospital cared for patients with learning disabilities and other mental difficulties.
The commission carried out an unannounced inspection on May 20, with a follow-up visit on June 3 to inspect the CCTV footage more closely. Later that month, the CQC acted to close the facility due to concerns for patients’ safety.
‘In some cases, people were subjected to abuse and interactions that lacked compassion, dignity, or respect,’ Debbie Ivanova, CQC deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said, as per Sky News.
‘This is unacceptable and people deserved better. Additionally, the environment was unhygienic and poorly maintained, as well as blighted by blind spots, which undermined staff observation of patients,’ she continued.
The hospital’s care was branded ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in March, with the CQC noting the lack of changes to address its problems. Coveberry took over Eldertree in November last year, and claimed it had been trying to make improvements under new leadership.
‘The lack of progress between the two inspections did not assure us Coveberry could deliver the change it desperately needed to make at Eldertree Lodge. Consequently, we took action to close the hospital. Closing a service is a last resort, but we do not hesitate to act proportionally when people are at risk of harm or receiving poor care,’ Ivanova added.
The report noted how the CCTV incidents ‘demonstrated ill treatment or abuse and the use of inappropriate restrictive techniques by one or more of the staff members present… we were not assured the provider always referred staff to registered bodies for further investigation following incidents of concern.’
Coveberry has decided not to appeal the ruling. ‘Rather than appeal CQC’s decision, Coveberry worked closely with commissioners, NHS England and CQC to ensure the safe and smooth transfer of patients as its absolute priority,’ it said, adding that it’ll learn from the footage and keep Eldertree’s fate in mind for the future.
Staffordshire Police reviewed the abuse in the footage, but found no criminal matters to pursue.
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