• Tenth hospital run by Cygnet Healthcare rated “inadequate” by CQC
  • In the same week, CQC rated its Colchester Hospital “inadequate” for second time
  • Almost one in 10 hospitals run by the provider now rated “inadequate”

A 10th Cygnet Healthcare hospital in 15 months has been rated “inadequate” and placed into special measures.

Cygnet Yew Trees in Essex is the latest of the company’s hospitals to receive the Care Quality Commission’s lowest rating. Cygnet is the second largest provider of inpatient mental health and learning disabilities services in the country.

In total, 10 of Cygnet Healthcare’s 124 hospitals have been rated “inadequate” since October 2018, though one has since been upgraded to “requires improvement”. Seven of these hospitals were previously run by the Danshell Group — including the scandal hit Whorlton Hall in the north east, which is now closed.

The quality and safety regulator also raised serious concerns over the leadership at Cygnet Healthcare in a well-led review earlier this month.

The report said patients were more likely to be subjected to restraint or seclusion within Cygnet Healthcare’s services compared to NHS providers and warned its leadership “did not have oversight of significant risks identified by regional teams”.

In the CQC’s latest report, published yesterday, Cygnet Yew Trees, which provides 10 beds for women with learning disabilities, was rated “inadequate” for well-led and safe, it was rated good for effective, caring and responsive.

Inspectors found managers and staff were not maintaining patient safety or carrying out patient observations as they should have been. In one incident, a patient who required enhanced observations, as they had attempted to tie a ligature, was allowed to sleep with their door shut.

Staff were also failing to notify the CQC or local safeguarding team when patient safety incidents occurred, such as a patient being the victim of assault.

In a statement to HSJ a spokeswoman for Cygnet Healthcare said it acknowledged the findings of the CQC but that the report refers to an inspection carried out in October 2019 on a “small” part of the service which had a new management team in place. It added recommendations from the CQC have since been implemented and the findings of a recent inspection this month will be published soon. 

In a second report, published today, the provider’s Colchester Hospital was found to have made insufficient improvements since the CQC’s inspection last June. As a result, the regulator has again rated it “inadequate”.

In one incident, following this latest inspection, the CQC found CCTV footage of staff being intimidating towards a patient prior to restraining them.

Addressing the CQC’s report on Colchester Hospital Cygnet Healthcare said improvements were recognised by the regulator including strengthened leadership and governance but added it was “not complacent” and would ensure all new recommendations are fully implemented. 

List of hospitals run by Cygnet Healthcare that have received an inadequate rating since October 2018:

  • Cygnet Whorlton Hall (closed);
  • Cygnet Newbus Grange;
  • Cygnet Chesterholme (closed);
  • Cygnet Hospital Colchester;
  • Cygnet Thors Park;
  • Cygnet Hospital Ealing;
  • Cygnet Hospital Wyke;
  • Cygnet Coventry;
  • Cygnet Acer Clinic (now requires improvement); and
  • Cygnet Yew Trees.

This story was updated at 10:30 to include a comment from Cygnet Healthcare and to include the provider’s correct number of mental health hospital units.