Serious failings at children's mental health hospital

A hospital for children with mental health problems in Stafford has been slammed by health officials after inspectors observed a youngster harming themselves in front of a member of staff.

Huntercombe Hospital has been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors identified a number of serious failings.

During an inspection, a member of staff at the private hospital failed to intervene as a patient repeatedly banged their head against a wall, despite instructions not to allow such behaviour to prevent injury.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) performed inspections on the hospital, which cares for 39 ill young people from across England, in April and May after a whistleblower contacted inspectors with concerns.

Officials identified a number of key areas where the hospital was failing to care for youngsters including:

  • The over-use of restraint,

  • Insufficient staff numbers in key areas,

  • A lack of knowledge among staff as to where key emergency equipment was kept,

  • Some patients had "limited" access to psychological therapy due to ongoing staff vacancies,

  • Inspectors also raised concerns about staff training, medication doses and the inappropriate use of long-term segregation of some patients.

Serious failings at children's mental health hospital Credit: PA

CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals, and lead for mental health, Dr Paul Lelliott, said:

Serious failings at children's mental health hospital Credit: PA

A spokesman for The Huntercombe Group said: