A care facility that provides secure accommodation for people with serious and complex mental health issues has been placed in special measures by health inspectors after a series of failings were identified.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said there were gaps in staff training at the Lakeside facility, in Wyboston, with patients placed at risk because of poor record keeping, while medicine and equipment was not being managed safely.
The CQC rated the facility, which is home to 45 patients across eight units, as inadequate and it was given six months to bring about improvements before a follow-up inspection.
In its report, the CQC said the facility had a “high level of new and inexperienced staff” which resulted in a reliance on agency employees and some wards not being fully staffed across all shifts.
Out of date burns kits and dressings were found in clinic rooms and there were discrepancies found in the recording of patient allergies in four of the eight units in operation.
In its report, the CQC noted: “The provider did not ensure that staff had adequate training or supervision. Not all staff had completed the induction training. Compliance with mandatory training was low for bank staff and low in some areas for permanent staff. Managers were not reviewing staff performance and development needs.
“The overall compliance with appraisal was low at 36 per cent. The provider did not ensure that bank staff received supervision.”
At the time of the inspection, the CQC said there were almost 50 vacant posts for registered nurses and support workers at the facility. It was noted that between November 2016 and October 2017, staff turnover was 35 per cent, equating to 84 members of staff leaving the provider.
Inspectors found that engagement and activity levels among patients were low. Patients “spent long periods asleep or in their room alone”, the report said and inspectors saw “little evidence of activities and therapy taking place”.
The CQC was also critical of response times to alarms being sounded. In one incident staff were said to have taken four minutes to respond to an alarm tested in a bathroom.
A spokesman for Accomplish, which runs Lakeside, said: “The March CQC report was delayed in publication and, during the time that has lapsed since inspection, we have continued to drive forward our improvement plan.
“The quality of service provided was far more positively reflected in CQC’s follow up focussed inspection in June 2018 and, although this report was not rated, this is the most recent reflection on the hospital and report on the CQC website.
“Feedback from the healthcare professionals we work with every day is very positive. We have strong working relationships with Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England, with whom we are working in partnership to deliver the transforming care agenda.
“We have also recently achieved AIMS Rehabilitation accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. AIMS Rehab works with patients, staff and fellow professionals in a comprehensive process of both self- and peer-review for the purpose of quality improvement and accreditation.
“We are committed to continuous improvement as a learning organisation, working constructively with the CQC, and building on the positive progress made to date.”