The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection of Cygnet Woodside, in Wibsey, which provides treatment for men with learning disabilities, complex needs and challenging behaviour, in September, following allegations of abuse by a member of staff towards a patient.
They have now rated the service – which was previously judged good – “inadequate”, saying they had identified “serious risks to patient safety”.
West Yorkshire Police confirmed they were investigating a report of an assault, which was alleged to have occurred on August 31.
A statement added: “Two men have been arrested in connection with this report and have been released under investigation for enquiries to continue.”
The hospital said it was “disappointed” with the CQC’s assessment, stressing that the inspection was triggered by its own management notifying the commission of a concern it had identified. The members of staff had been “immediately suspended”.
At the time of the inspection there were eight patients on the ward, seven of whom were detained under the Mental Health Act, while another was subject to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
Inspectors said senior leaders were not always fully aware of concerns in the service and “this included the concern relating to the allegations of abuse towards patient A which is being investigated by police”.
The inspection found that some staff had not raised concerns previously because they “felt intimidated” by other staff, while some felt their concerns were “ignored by managers”.
It also highlighted that staff were not always wearing facemasks, as part of Covid-safety measures, and there was a “strong odour of urine”, damaged walls, and peeling paint in the ward areas.
The hospital relied on bank and agency staff and had a high turnover of staff, and team meetings had not taken place for at least three months.
Dr Kevin Cleary, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “Our latest inspection of Cygnet Woodside found that the hospital was not ensuring its patients’ safety.”
He added: “The service showed warning signs that increased the likelihood of a closed culture developing. This would have put people at serious risk of coming to harm if we didn’t take action.”
He said care was compromised because there was not always the right number or skill level of staff looking after patients.
Dr Cleary continued: “We have told leaders at this service what they must do to improve and will continue to monitor Cygnet Woodside closely. Should we see insufficient improvement, CQC will not hesitate to take further action to keep people safe.”
Cygnet Woodside said the investigation related to a “single safeguarding concern that was raised against a member of staff” which they reported to police.
A statement said: “The individual concerned was immediately suspended, along with one other staff member who did not report the incident in line with our zero-tolerance policy on abuse.”
They were addressing “areas for improvement” at the hospital, but did not believe the CQC report provided an “entirely accurate representation”.
A spokeswoman added: “We have already taken the opportunity of sharing the report with families and carers of our patients who are always our priority. We are reassured the response we have received from them has been generally very positive about the care and treatment we are providing to their loved ones.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with the families, our commissioners and the CQC in the best interests of those in our care.”