Mental health hospital in Northampton deemed unsafe

St Andrew's sign
Image caption Inspectors found some rooms at the unit lacked items such as beds, pillows and mattresses

An adolescent mental health unit has been deemed "unsafe" and threatened with closure if it does not improve.

Health inspectors rated St Andrew's Healthcare Adolescent Service in Northampton as "inadequate" and have placed it in special measures.

The CQC said patients were not treated "with dignity, compassion or respect" and safety had "deteriorated".

The hospital expressed "deep regret" that it had "fallen below the standards we aim to uphold."

This latest inspection, the third in two years, found most seclusion rooms did not have basic furnishings.

Rooms lacked items such as a beds, pillows, blankets or mattresses, and records referred to patients as sitting or lying on the floor while in those rooms.

Image copyright St Andrews Healthcare
Image caption St Andrew's Healthcare Adolescent Service is based in FitzRoy House on Cliftonville Road, Northampton

Inspectors found that on one occasion male staff were present when a female patient was changing her clothes.

They said that was "uncaring, undignified and disrespectful to the patient".

They also found:

  • Sharp edges on door frames in seclusion rooms and extra care suites
  • Discrepancies between written incident reports, staff recollection of incidents and images of those incidents captured on CCTV
  • Some patients told inspectors agency staff were "not always as nice" as permanent staff

Earlier this year the Victoria Derbyshire programme was given footage of a teenager reaching their arm through a door hatch to enable contact with their parents during a visit to the hospital.

The parent told the programme the patient had been held in seclusion for months.

Image caption The Victoria Derbyshire programme was given footage of one patient who could have contact with their parent only through a hatch in a door

Dr Paul Lelliott, the CQC's mental health lead, said the hospital would be inspected again in six months and if there was no improvement, the CQC "will take action to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service".

St Andrews said it had temporarily closed its Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to new admissions, so it could immediately address issues raised.

Katie Fisher, chief executive, said: "We are confident that when the CQC returns to inspect the St Andrew's Healthcare Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in the next six months, they will see significant improvement that will be reflected in an improved rating."

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