Baldock mental health hospital banned from admitting new patients after inspectors’ safety concerns

PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 March 2020

A ban on admitting further patients to Baldock Manor was enforced after inspectors raised safety concerns regarding the facility. Picture: Danny Loo

A ban on admitting further patients to Baldock Manor was enforced after inspectors raised safety concerns regarding the facility. Picture: Danny Loo

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A mental health hospital in Baldock had been banned from admitting further patients after inspectors raised immediate concerns about the safety of existing patients.

Baldock Manor in London Road is an independent hospital that provides intensive care and rehabilitation to people with mental health problems.

A report published this month by watchdog the Care Quality Commission reveals an inspection in November led to a ban on further patients being admitted to the facility due to safety concerns.

Inspectors rated the service as ‘requires improvement’ overall, but inadequate for safety and good for caring.

They found a 72 per cent increase in incidents in October, compared to September. More than half of these 131 incidents related to patient self-harm or physical aggression, but were not always reported and referred to external bodies as required.

The provider - Nouvita Ltd - had a 75 per cent vacancy rate for qualified staff to lead and manage care and a 21 per cent vacancy rate for support workers.

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The CQC report says: “Staffing issues adversely affected patient care. Whilst agency staff were provided with an induction, some did not have a full understanding of patients’ risks or needs.”

Leaders had not always ensured services were safe, clean and well maintained; staff were not fully adhering to infection control requirements; and the provider did not ensure mandatory training in the Mental Health Act.

The report says: “Although managers were fully committed, they did not have the knowledge or skills to run the service effectively. The provider did not have an effective system to ensure patients were kept safe and received good quality care.”

However, it also says: “When interacting with patients, staff attitudes and behaviours generally showed they were discreet, respectful and responsive. Patients said staff treated them well.”

The provider has since reviewed all patient care plans and observations, and systems are in place for their ongoing review.

Staff have been tested for competencies, and staffing figures confirm most shifts are covered.

A Nouvita Ltd spokesman said: “Given the unprecedented circumstances we currently face and the pressure on healthcare services, our main focus is to ensure those individuals in our care, as well as our teams, are kept safe and well. That said, we are of course disappointed with the CQC rating at Baldock Manor. However, as stated in the report, we are compliant with all of the CQC requirements following their inspection in November.”

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