Great Britain

Cygnet Newbus Grange in Darlington may reopen in 2020

A CRISIS-HIT hospital where patients were at risk of ‘accidental hanging’ and patient safety was not a ‘sufficient priority’ may reopen next year, healthcare bosses confirm.

Cygnet Newbus Grange on Neasham Road in Darlington, which provided care for those with learning disabilities and autism, was deemed inadequate following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May.

Citing a “refurbishment” following the damning report, healthcare bosses took the decision to close the hospital after concerns raised included: patient safety, patient restraining measures, the overall condition of the hospital and patients at risk of accidental hanging.

But last night, healthcare bosses said they were now working with local care commissioners to provide "high quality care" and planned to reopen the site in 2020.

An amended report into Cygnet Newbus Grange published after the inspections found that the number of incidents of restraint had “substantially” increased on previous years, with 1,069 reported in one year.

Carried out in May, and also in June, the inspections found staff did not always follow the Mental Capacity Act, restrictions on use of mobile phones and personal belongings were imposed on patients without explanation, hospital medication policies were not always followed and a high turnover of staff.

The report said: “In the twelve months prior to our inspection, 24 percent of shifts were filled by bank or agency staff – there was not enough substantive nursing staff to cover the shifts available.

“One patient was at risk of harm because staff had not ensured they had followed the medication policy for administering medication off-license.”

During the inspection, CQC inspectors found patients were at risk of accidental hanging from window cords that were left exposed.

The report said: “The roller blind cords in patient bedrooms were exposed and could be a ligature risk or accidental hanging risk and this had not been recognised.

“The ligature risk assessments had not identified actions to remove or reduce this risk and this was not entered in the hospital’s risk register despite the windows being on the risk register.”

Inspectors found an external audit of the hospital’s infection control had been marked as completed by hospital staff, despite a strong smell of urine and smell of damp throughout bedrooms, en-suites and in the corridor.

The report said: “The managers and staff did not do all they could to keep the hospital in good condition.

"The interior of the building was worn and tired in places and some rooms smelt of damp and urine.

"We raised concern about food that was stored at room temperature and should be kept in a refrigerated and freezer and a soiled fabric chair in the clinic room.”

The report went on to acknowledge the hospital had undertaken a deep clean on all patient bedrooms and corridors following feedback.

The report said: “A fabric chair was removed from the clinic room after we raised concern that this was soiled and it was made of fabric.

"This was not in line with good infection prevention and control practice.”

In response to the findings, a spokesperson for the hospital said: “This CQC report is in fact a republished version of the Commission’s inspection from May 2019, the findings of which were published and already reported on in September 2019.

“It does not present the current situation because the property was vacated in October 2019 to allow renovation works to happen, so there is no one currently residing in or being cared for at the service.

“We took this decision separate to the CQC inspection because we are working with local care commissioners to provide high quality care and a service that best serves the needs of people across the North East, which we plan to open in 2020.”

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