Lanchester Road Hospital 'wasn't safe' says sister of autistic man who spent four years there

Elliot Davis was a patient at Lanchester Road Hospital in Durham for four years before being discharged into residential care last month. Credit: Family

The sister of a 27-year-old man who has autism and a learning disability has claimed the hospital where he was cared “was not safe”.

Elliot Davis was a patient at Lanchester Road Hospital in Durham for four years before being discharged into residential care last month.

The hospital’s ward for people with learning disabilities and autism has been rated as “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors visited earlier this year.

Beckii Davis, Mr Davis’ sister, said she had raised concerns about the service with the CQC and management at the hospital.

She said: “I knew the report was coming and I am relieved that I was right. I knew the service wasn’t safe for Elliot and other patients.

“I just can’t imagine what he has been through and wish I could take it all away.”

Elliot Davis and his sister Beckii, who criticised the care he received while he was at Lanchester Road Hospital. Credit: Family

The CQC downgraded the service, which is run by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, to inadequate following an inspection carried out across three weeks in May and June.

The watchdog, which had previously rated the service as "good" in 2019, visited Lanchester Road Hospital to investigate whistleblower concerns about staff shortages.

It then widened it to a full inspection after finding further issues.

In a report published on Wednesday, 5 October, criticisms were made of the service provided at both Lanchester Road Hospital and at Bankfield Court in Middlesbrough.

Ms Davis told ITV News Tyne Tees she had seen an over-reliance on agency staff.

She said: “You could see if there were regular staff and two agency, you could see they were run ragged because they were having to do everything.”

Inspectors also raised concerns around restraints used on patients.

Their report found staff did not always understand how to protect people from poor care and abuse.

Three patients had been injured during restraints, and there had been 32 injuries reported on healthcare staff.

Inspectors also found:

  • Staff did not receive the right training to meet patients needs.

  • Staff did not always provide kind and compassionate care or protect and respect privacy and dignity .

  • For six patients it found staff applied restrictions not proportionate to the level of risk.

In a statement the trust said: “Given the previous good ratings for this service, this is clearly disappointing. We are committed to improving the experience for patients in our care and we are delivering an urgent action plan that is already showing we are making improvements.

“We immediately commissioned an independent peer review into the service after the inspection in May and acted swiftly on its recommendations.

 “Going forward, we will continue to work with our partners on the future provision of learning disability and autism services to ensure that together we offer the right packages of care that meets the needs of patients and their families.”

The trust has been facing calls over the last 18 months for a public inquiry into how it is run.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...