Substance misuse service placed in special measures

What will the NHS Long Term Plan mean for mental health?

An independent residential substance misuse service in London has been placed into special measures by the CQC after concerns were raised that it was failing to protect people from avoidable harm.

The Haven in Crouch Hill, which is operated by registered charity West London Mission, provides accommodation for up to 26 male clients and was previously rated requires improvement.

However, following a focused inspection in February the regulator changed its status to inadequate, meaning it will be kept under review and could face urgent enforcement action unless rapid improvements are made.

Inspectors found that the service was not well-led and had had no registered manager in post since February last year. Staff turnover was high and all permanent staff had left by the time of the inspection.

According to the regulator, the turnover of managers had led to inconsistencies in how the service was managed which impacted on the quality of care provided. Managers and staff did not always have the information necessary to challenge and improve performance and staff did not assess or manage risk well.

Serious incidents were not always investigated appropriately and measures were not always in place to prevent further incidents, said the CQC. In addition, medicines were not always managed in a safe way and people did not always receive their required medication.

CQC’s head of hospital inspection, London, Helen Rawlings, said: After inspecting The Haven, we took urgent enforcement action and told the provider it must take action in a number of areas to bring the service in line with legal requirements and to keep people safe.  

‘I am pleased to report that the leadership team responded rapidly and positively to the concerns we raised, devising an urgent action plan to address our immediate concerns. They also put an action plan delivery team in place to oversee the implementation of the plan. We will continue to monitor the service to ensure that improvements are made and fully embedded.’