In a number of separate occasions, the abuse and ill-treatment of mental health patients had gone unnoticed as staff were not closely supervised.
Following reports of patient abuse from Cygnet Health Care Provider, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care services in England conducted an unheralded inspection of Cygnet Yew Trees in Kirby-le-Soken in Essex.
Inspectors said they had seen CCTV clips which showed staff at the private mental health hospital dragging, slapping and kicking a patient.
After visiting the 10-bed facility for women aged 18 and above with a learning disability in the months of July and August, inspectors reported saying: “Some staff subjected patients to emotional and physical abuse. We reviewed 21 episodes of closed-circuit television footage and witnessed staff drag, slap and kick a patient. We witnessed staff shove a patient.
“We witnessed staff using verbal and non-verbal communication with patients, the content of which the hospital assessed as a trigger for patients’ anxiety. We saw extremely negative interactions where staff visibly became angry with patients, threw items in the vicinity of patients and stood very close to patients with intimidating body language (arms crossed, standing over them).”
According to the report, nine of the 21 CCTV clips showed “examples of staff abusing patients, acting inappropriately or delivering a poor standard of care”. The inspectors` report said staff “lacked the confidence and integrity to raise concerns about poor patient care”.
Cygnet Health Care said that the private mental health hospital, Cygnet Yew Trees has now been closed. A spokesperson said this was done for the safety and wellbeing of the patients.
Managers have taken necessary steps to support the two patients who were involved, “including to offer specialist support”.