• Independent hospital for men with learning disabilities currently under investigation due to “unexplained injuries of patients”
  • CQC blamed situation partly on having a “succession of managers over recent years”
  • Hospital was rated “good” in January 2018 and has now dropped to “inadequate” in April 2019

The Care Quality Commission has rated an independent mental health hospital as “inadequate”, just 15 months after it was rated as “good”, and following abuse allegations being raised.

The care regulator said that “safety was not a priority” at Thors Park, Essex, a 14-bed unit for men with learning disabilities.

CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health Paul Lelliott said: “Staff had failed to take the necessary steps to keep patients safe or keep the ward clean.”

He said the independent hospital was currently under a safeguarding investigation “triggered by allegations of abuse by staff towards patients and a number of incidents related to unexplained injuries of patients”. The allegations were raised last year.

The CQC said the rapid deterioration of care at Thors Park may be caused in part by having a “succession of managers over recent years”. At the time of the inspection in February there was no registered manager.

Thors Park accepts referrals from all over England and, at the time of inspection, was funded by a number of clinical commissioning groups.

The report also found:

  • The provider was not recording whether physical restraint was used on patients and the hospital did not know the type and frequency of physical restraints used.
  • Staff left patients who required constant enhanced observations – the inspectors saw one patient left alone for multiple periods of time when his care record said two staff members must be with him at all times.
  • Staff did not replace expired or empty equipment including an oxygen cylinder which was empty since November 2018 and a resuscitation bag which had expired in 2011.

In January 2018, the provider was rated as “good” overall and “good” in all domains except for safety, in which it was rated “requires improvement”.

The hospital is now rated “inadequate” overall and also for safety, leadership and responsiveness. It is rated as “requires improvement” for effectiveness and “good” for caring.