'Disgusting' treatment at Kent mental health service

image captionAnya Auckland said she was ignored and not supported

A 17-year-old mental health patient has described the care she received at a Kent hospital as "disgusting".

Inspectors recently criticised the Cygnet Hospital in Sevenoaks, and issued three warning notices.

Anya Auckland was admitted last year and said patients aged between 12 and 18 were secluded, sometimes for weeks, to "control" them.

The head of Cygnet Health Care said they are looking at ways to "improve procedures, protocols and training".


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an urgent inspection after concerns were raised over the safety of young people.

Inspectors found patients were not protected against abuse and "seclusion and segregation was used to control and contain young people in the absence of other behaviour-based approaches".

Miss Auckland was admitted after feeling suicidal, but said staff made her feel "worthless".

She recalled seeing a patient "dragged along the floor" because they were in the wrong corridor.

image copyrightCygnet Health Care
image captionConcerns were raised over Cygnet Hospital in Sevenoaks

She added: "One time a girl was in seclusion in a room for one or two weeks.

"Once she was out, we were playing outside... The ward manager came out and said to her, 'you'd better stop or you're going to go back to where you belong'.

"You're stuck in this world, which makes everything much more intense. When your words aren't being taken into account, you work together.

"The most support I had was from other patients."

Nicky McLeod, chief operating officer at Cygnet Health Care said: "We recognise we have not always dealt with issues raised around the care we offer as comprehensively as we might.

"But as a responsible mental healthcare provider we take any comments on our hospitals very seriously."

Ms Auckland met with the new manager of the centre and director of nursing to give feedback, and the service is being re-inspected to check progress.

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