PERFORMANCE: Monitor yesterday announced it had launched an investigation into Calderstones Partnership after a patient was abused while in the foundation trust’s care.

The health sector regulator said a safeguarding conference last month had “identified shortcomings” in the way the Lancashire-based learning disabilities trust safeguarded its service users.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the regulator added: “Police investigated specific allegations of abuse earlier this year but decided to take no further action.”

Monitor regional director Robert Davidson added: “The fact that this issue was not identified by the trust may indicate a failure in the way the trust is working, so we have opened a formal regulatory investigation and also asked the [Care Quality Commission] to assess the quality of care provided by the trust as a priority.

“We want to make sure that patients are receiving the best possible standards of care, and we will look closely at how the trust is run to determine whether it has breached the conditions of its licence to provide NHS healthcare services.”

HSJ understands that the service user who reportedly suffered abuse was male, and Calderstones moved around 12 members of staff who had been working with him after it was alerted to the incident by a whistleblower.

Calderstones chief executive David Young said: “We’ve been working with Monitor, the CQC and all our commissioners about this incident for several months. Three of the five issues raised by the safeguarding case conference some weeks ago were either unsubstantiated or inconclusive. We take very seriously indeed this outstanding and isolated issue of abuse against a single service user.”

He added: “This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and our thoughts and concerns are with the service user and their family. Calderstones works with many extremely challenging individuals. Our staff have to act and think quickly to support them through each day. Their role is very demanding but the trust board has zero tolerance of any form of abuse or excessive actions in any circumstances.  We acted very quickly to remove everyone who may have been involved in the incident and have worked very closely with the authorities through the investigation.

“Our joint investigation with social services identified where services fell short of our expectations and best practice. Where there are recommendations for improvements that are not already in place we will be taking immediate action.”