Following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit in January Uplands Independent Hospital, which provides long stay and rehabilitation mental health services for up to 30 adults, saw its rating dropped from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate.’
The CQC carried out its unannounced inspection of the hospital – run by Coveberry Limited – after receiving a number of concerns about the safety and quality of care being provided.
Karen Bennett-Wilson, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: ‘When we inspected Uplands Independent Hospital, we were concerned to find that the service wasn’t focused on supporting people to regain the skills and confidence to live independently so they could be discharged as quickly as possible.
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‘Instead, the culture in the hospital was more like a care home where people stay on a long-term basis. We found people were staying in the hospital for an average of five years, and some had been there for as long as 22 years. This is far too long, putting people are at risk of becoming institutionalised and not being able to live a full and active life in the community.
‘It was distressing to hear that people receiving care at Uplands Hospital didn’t always feel safe, and that some staff didn’t always speak kindly to them. In addition, people told us that some staff could be threatening, dictating and on occasions, they laughed at them, which impacted on their mental health.
‘People also told us some staff didn’t always act in their best interests or respond when they asked for help, emotional support or advice. Some staff told us that some colleagues used derogatory language when talking to people, but they didn’t feel confident about raising the issue of disrespectful, discriminatory or abusive behaviour that they witnessed with managers.’
The inspection also found out-of-date care plans and risk assessments which meant people may not be receiving the care or treatment they needed.
In the report it was noted that the hospital did not have suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff to deliver person-centred and recovery-focused care safely to patients. Not all staff had completed their mandatory training, including emergency first aid, conflict management and use of restraint, training on the Mental Capacity Act and safeguarding training.
It comes after a police probe into Uplands was carried out in 2014 after a whistle-blower exposed alleged abuse and failings.
Later that year a support worker from the hospital was found guilty of assaulting an 80-year-old patient.
In response to the latest CQC report, a spokesman for Coveberry said: ‘We acknowledge the findings of the published CQC report following a visit in January 2022. A robust action plan has been put in place, and is already making a tangible difference. A new hospital director and additional consultant psychiatrist support continue to make sustainable improvements, and we are confident that significant progress has been made since the time of the inspection.
‘The safety and wellbeing of the people in the service is our highest priority and we will continue to work closely with CQC, Commissioners and other stakeholders to ensure that the level of care provided at Uplands meets the highest standards.’