Inspectors slam staff at 'inadequate' hospital who faked records
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Staff falsified records and failed to notice an attack on a patient at a mental health hospital which has been rated "inadequate".
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Ellingham Hospital near Attleborough at the start of September after complaints about safety, use of restraint and lack of pre-employment checks.
The unannounced inspection on the hospital's two 10-bed children's wards led to their closure.
The CQC said it found "significant and immediate concerns" and rated all areas of the children's wards inadequate.
A week before the inspection one patient was assaulted by another for a "sustained period" when staff failed to carry out checks.
Staff also falsified records about when they had observed patients, the report said.
They also observed incidents on CCTV but did not report them.
CCTV footage also showed staff acting aggressively to patients, the report added.
Inspectors found the use of restraint on patients was "unsafe" and "not proportionate".
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They also failed to learn from incidents.
In July there were 133 incidents reported on one ward with just four patients.
The hospital also failed to carry out pre-employment checks, the report said. One person was able to work while under investigation.
There was also a lack of staff with several members not turning up to work or cancelling shifts at the last minute, the CQC said.
Key members of staff had resigned including the medical director, social worker and two therapists.
The hospital reported three alleged assaults to police before the inspection.
Two alleged assaults took place in August by staff on patients and one in September by a patient.
Patients were moved out of the two children's wards in September. At the time the hospital blamed the closure on a lack of staff.
The hospital's adult ward remains open.
A spokesman for the Priory Group, which runs the hospital, said: "Like other providers nationally, we found it extremely challenging to recruit and retain permanent staff with the skills required to meet the highly-specialised needs of the young people at Ellingham.
"This led to our decision to suspend admissions to the Woodlands and Cherry Oak wards in June, and the subsequent decision to close Cherry Oak Ward, with Woodlands being kept under close review.
"Following the CQC's inspection of the child and adolescent wards at Ellingham in September, Priory and other stakeholders were in agreement that the patients on Woodlands Ward should be relocated and the ward should also close."