Cygnet Hospital Colchester is to exit special measures and has been rated as good following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
The independent mental health hospital which provides care and treatment to men aged 18 years and over, was rated as inadequate and placed into special measures in May 2019 following concerns raised about the safety and leadership of the service.
Following this latest inspection, CQC revealed it has continued to monitor the service closely through inspection and engagement meetings and has found sustained improvement in the safety of the service.
When inspectors returned in June of this year, the CQC says they found that significant improvements had been made meaning the service can now exit special measures. The service is now rated as good overall and good for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
The hospital has three core services; acute wards for adults of working age, long stay rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults and wards for people with a learning disability or autism.
Areas of improvement highlighted by inspectors include:
• The service had a staffing co-ordinator who liaised with bank staff and local agencies to ensure the hospital had safe staffing levels.
• Staff minimised the use of restrictive practices, managed medicines safely and followed good practice with respect to safeguarding.
• Patients were treated with kindness and respect and staff supported them to achieve their goals.
• Improvements had been made to ligature risk assessments which were comprehensive and had timeframes for actions to be completed.
• Staff ensured patient alarms were regularly checked and were repaired if necessary.
• The hospital had a safeguarding lead who monitored safeguarding investigations and supported staff when reporting potential abuse.
• Staff developed holistic, recovery-oriented care plans informed by a comprehensive assessment. They provided a range of treatments suitable to the needs of the patients and in line with national guidance about best practice
• Improvements had been made by the human resources and training co-ordinator who now completed disclosure barring service checks for all staff, including agency staff. In addition, mandatory training courses were monitored, completed and up to date for all staff.
The CQC added inspectors also found examples of outstanding care at the hospital which included:
• The provider had significantly improved its processes of monitoring and learning from restraint incidents. This was an area of improvement identified CQC’s previous inspection in 2019.
• Managers completed a monthly observation and CCTV audit where they monitored and evaluated the use of restraint in line with statutory and national guidance and Cygnet policy.
• Managers ensured staff had de-briefs where they could review CCTV of an incident that occurred so improvements could be made and good practice shared to promote a positive culture.
Commenting on developments at the site, Stuart Dunn, CQC head of inspection for mental health and community services, said: “When inspectors re-visited Cygnet Hospital Colchester, it was clear that service leaders had made significant progress to improve the care for the vulnerable men who use this service.
“Since the previous inspection, the provider has made a lot of important changes for the men using this service. This included undertaking a ligature risk assessment of the whole hospital to ensure people are at less risk of harming themselves. Staff now use a ‘ligature heat map’ to identify any new potential risk points.
“Improvements had also been made to the monitoring and learning from restraint incidents with regular audits carried out and any good practice shared with staff. Levels of restrictive interventions were now low across the hospital.
“Managers at all levels had the right skills and abilities to run a service providing high-quality, sustainable care. Staff said the leadership and management changes were positive and had improved their experience of working at the service. They were enthusiastic and passionate about the improvements they had made.
“We are pleased that the hard work and strong commitment from all staff to deliver improved services has resulted in higher standards of care for people. The provider must now ensure these positive changes are sustained.”