Cygnet mental health hospital placed into special measures

Cygnet Hospital Wyke has been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following two separate inspections, with further enforcement action being considered.

The healthcare regulator inspected the service between 2 and 4 June, responding to concerns raised by whistleblowing. Inspectors reported records not being kept and risk assessments not carried out. Inspectors observed some staff delivering care that was ‘antagonistic and not respectful.’

They revisited the service on 19 June in response to further concerns raised.

Inspectors reported a patient was able to tie a ligature, exposing themselves to a serious risk of strangulation; staff were not reporting incidents, preventing risks from being followed up and were not trained in patient observation and engagement; management had little understanding of identifying and managing risks and allowed failures of policy to go unchallenged.

The hospital in Bradford, West Yorkshire, was rated ‘requires improvement’ for being responsive and received an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ for being safe, effective, caring and well-led. The service has now been placed into special measures.

Following the June inspections, the regulator applied conditions preventing the service from accepting new patients and requiring the provider to review all patients’ clinical records, to take action where appropriate, and to report the outcome to CQC.

Cygnet appealed against the condition preventing new admissions. An agreement was reached with the CQC to allow patients to be admitted to the hospital’s Bramwell Ward only, but with additional conditions.

The independent mental health service was previously rated ‘requires improvement’ in February 2018 due to poor standards of care and a lack of improvements. During the following months improvements but once again problems arose.

Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector of hospitals (lead for mental health) said: ‘We have found the standard of care provided at Cygnet Hospital Wyke to have deteriorated further. Therefore, we are considering further enforcement action to protect the people living there.

‘We will continue to closely monitor the hospital with support from our partner agencies, to ensure people are safe. We will publish any action we take when it is appropriate to do so, any action we do take is subject to appeal by the provider.’

A spokesperson for Cygnet Hospital Wyke said: ‘As an organisation deeply committed to providing the very best care to the people who use our services, the findings in this report fall short of the standards we expect.

‘Since the inspections in June we have invested significantly in improving the service. We have implemented an intense improvement programme which has been shared with the CQC and they have recognised progress is being made.

‘There is new management in place and, in light of the investment and improvements that have been made and remain ongoing, the CQC has already agreed to vary previous conditions so that we can accept referrals to the male mental health acute ward, which will re-open on 13 August.

‘We remain committed to working with our stakeholders and appreciate the on-going support provided by our Commissioners.’

This is the latest in a string of private mental health services coming under fire this year. Cygnet Hospital Colchester was placed into special measures in June, while the St Andrew’s Healthcare, the Danshell Group, Raphael Medical Centre Ltd and the Huntercombe Group have all received either ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ ratings.

There was also a BBC Panorama investigation into Whorlton Hall in May, which showed patients with learning disabilities and complex needs being physically and psychologically abused.