An unannounced inspection at a Lancashire secure mental health facilty has revealed the unit is failing to meet to meet four out of six national standards.
Guild Lodge, a medium secure and low secure forensic psychiatric hospital based in Whittingham, near Preston, failed to meet the standards for respecting and involving people who use their services following an inspection by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission.
One patient told inspectors: “It set me back a lot, it’s more like a prison.”
Inspectors carried a series of unannounced visits at Guild Lodge in November as part of their programme of scheduled inspections for 2013/2014.
A report has now been published revealing the trust has failed the standards for respecting and involving people who use their services; the care and welfare of people who use services; assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision and for keeping records.
The inspection looked at the care and treatment that people received within Guild Lodge Hospital on two wards - Whinfell and Bleasdale.
These wards provide care and treatment in a medium secure unit to patients with an acquired brain injury. All the patients inspectors spoke to were detained under the Mental Health Act.
Patients told inspectors they did not feel they had any say on how the service was run and did not feel able to make suggestions or express opinions.
Patients also revealed they were not routinely consulted with or debriefed following restraint used on the two wards.
Inspectors also discovered that ward level checks and systems were not in place to regularly assess and monitor the quality of service provided to patients. They also found accurate records were not maintained in relation to the care and treatment of patients at the hospital.
The report stated: “We found limited evidence of the evaluation of care plans by staff or people who used the service. (One) person said: ‘I don’t say nothing about my treatment because I don’t know what’s happening with me, I’m frightened they will send me back to prison.’”
Inspectors also felt that people were not protected from the risks of unsafe or inappropriate care and treatment because accurate and appropriate records were not kept. The CQC has told Lancashire Care Trust what action is needed to make improvements.
A spokesman for the Care Quality Commission said: “If the required improvements are not made, the CQC has a range of enforcement powers which include restricting the services that a provider can offer, or, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service.
“The CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions or prosecute the provider for failing to meet essential standards. Any regulatory decision that CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “The safety and well-being of service users is our utmost priority.
“The CQC identified areas of safe service delivery within this regional forensic acquired brain injury service and also areas where they believe we need to make progress in providing the best care possible for this vulnerable service user group.
“Prior to the visit, a full root and branch review had been undertaken focusing on the service model, staffing levels, skills of staff and overall organisation of the unit led by Professor Jenny Shaw.
“The related action plan is now in the process of being implemented and we are committed to ensuring all of the issues raised by the CQC are dealt with quickly and appropriately.
“During the inspection, the CQC recognised that some issues had already been identified during the internal review and were being addressed.
“The trust has a positive relationship with service users, commissioners and the CQC and is taking a proactive approach to the inspection and its findings.
“We will be reporting back to the CQC on the progress made at regular intervals.”