PERFORMANCE: A Hampshire hospital looking after adults with mental health problems and learning disabilities was failing to protect patients from the risk of abuse, a health watchdog has said.

The Care Quality Commission demanded immediate improvements after identifying serious failings at the 69-bed Vista Healthcare Independent Hospital in Winchfield.

Following the inspection in April, CQC found that the provider, the Fairhome Care Group, had been failing to meet government regulations relating to safeguarding people from abuse and supporting staff with training and supervision.

CQC has now issued two formal warning notices setting a deadline for improvement. The hospital has also been stopped from taking emergency or unplanned admissions.

Inspectors found that the hospital had been failing to take adequate steps to protect people from the risk of abuse and was failing to adequately assess the risks attached with admitting patients with violent or aggressive behaviour. The commission also found staff did not have sufficient training or guidance to make sure patients were always kept safe.

The hospital is registered to provide secure specialist care for people aged 17 to 65 with mental health issues, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.

Ian Biggs, deputy director of CQC in the south, said: “Since these serious failings were identified, inspectors have returned to check that the hospital had made the required improvements and were pleased to note that, thanks to our intervention, they had been made.”

The hospital has made an application for the restrictive condition to be removed and a further report will be published in due course, the commission said.

A spokesman for the hospital said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed by the CQC’s statement today, which we consider to be disproportionate, emotive and does not reflect their two most recent positive inspections.”

The spokesman added: “Our priority at all times is the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, who comprise some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is doubly disappointing that the CQC’s actions in issuing this statement may cause unnecessary distress for them, when previously they found that patients were and, we believe continue to be, happy with the care they receive.”