Thursday, 22 December 2011

CQC looks for improvements at Sheffield Hospital

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors have told Alpha Hospitals (NW) Limited in Sheffield that it is not meeting essential standards and that it must improve.

Inspectors have found that the psychiatric hospital is failing to comply with seven of the government’s standards of quality and safety. By law, providers of health and care services must ensure that they are meeting all standards.

CQC has given the provider, Alpha Hospitals (NW) Limited, 14 days to produce plans to show how it intends to achieve compliance.

Inspectors visited the hospital in November as part of their routine schedule of planned reviews. They spoke to staff and patients on all three wards.

The report, published on the CQC website, highlights two main areas of concern:

Care and welfare of people who use services:

Inspectors concluded that patients were not always receiving safe and effective care, and their needs were not always met. One patient had been prescribed a particular medication - but it was not available when she needed it.

Inspectors said that there were some rules in place within the hospital that appeared to be unnecessarily restrictive. All patients were subject to a physical search when leaving and returning to a rehabilitation ward, and each patient's room was routinely searched on a monthly basis. Some patients had complained about the search procedures.

Safeguarding people who use services from abuse:

Inspectors found that patients were not always safeguarded from abuse or the risk of abuse. There was evidence that some incidents and allegations within the hospital had not been referred to the local authority safeguarding team as required. Staff lacked accurate knowledge and understanding of safeguarding referral procedures.

CQC has also indentified concerns with five other standards:

  • The provider does not have adequate arrangements in place for patients to practise their faith.
  • Patient's health and welfare needs are not always met as there are not sufficient numbers of the right staff.
  • Patients do not always benefit from safe, quality care because effective assessment and monitoring of care does not take place.
  • Patients do not always have their comments and complaints listened to or addressed effectively.
  • Patients's personal records are not always accurate or fit for purpose.

Jo Dent, Regional Director of CQC for Yorkshire and Humberside, said:

"Patient's views about the treatment they received at Alpha Sheffield were mixed. While some patients told us that they liked the staff and felt that they did a good job, others found there were too many rules in place.

“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.

"We have asked the hospital to provide a report that says what action they are going to take. We will continue to monitor Alpha Hospitals (NW) closely and will return to check that improvements have been made."

For support with CQC registration and compliance, visit the Words Worth Reading Ltd website.

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