Inspectors criticise private psychiatric hospital

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BOSSES at privately-run psychiatric hospital for women in Yorkshire were ordered to make immediate improvements amid concerns over safeguards for patients.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the Alpha Hospital in Sheffield was failing to comply with seven essential standards for quality and safety.

They said patients were not always receiving safe and effective care and their needs were not always being met. One patient had been prescribed medication but it was not available when she needed it, while some rules in the hospital appeared to be “unnecessarily restrictive”.

The watchdog also found patients were not always safeguarded from abuse or the risk of it. There was evidence some incidents and allegations had not been referred to the local authority as required.

None of the staff interviewed by inspectors, including one who at times was the senior nurse on duty, could explain the procedure for referring concerns to council safeguarding teams.

Inspectors also found there were not always sufficient staff on duty, patient records were not always accurate and effective assessment and monitoring of care did not always take place.

Jo Dent, regional director of the CQC, said it would continue to monitor the hospital and would return to make sure improvements had been made.

She added: “We have particular concerns about the hospital’s arrangements for dealing with safeguarding concerns. None of the staff that 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 tranquilisation, but a doctor had not been called in. No one could explain why. Patients’ complaints were investigated by the provider but they were not referred to the local authority as they should have been.”

A hospital spokeswoman said it took the care and safety of its patients “extremely seriously” and it had immediately developed and implemented an action plan.

Inspectors from the CQC visited again a fortnight ago and had seen the improvements made.