Hinchingbrooke Hospital 'must improve quality'

Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire has been criticised by a health watchdog for the way it treats patients who become agitated or aggressive.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it had major concerns with essential standards of quality and safety.

Reports by the trust did not detail how patients were restrained during two incidents last year.

The Huntingdon hospital claimed it had made significant improvements.

Suitable restraint

The CQC said Hinchingbrooke must improve or face enforcement action.

The trust declared in April last year that it was in breach of the standard relating to keeping patients safe from abuse or the risk of abuse, and would be compliant by the end of September 2010, the CQC added.

"The trust was unable to demonstrate that guidance for safeguarding patients was being put into practice by staff by the time that the trust stated it would be compliant," a CQC report states.

Details of the incidents in May and November, reported to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), made no reference to safeguarding concerns, trust policies and how "key learning" had impacted upon staff actions.

Suitable forms of control and restraint required to protect people using services were not always being used, the report adds.

"The trust are unable to demonstrate that staff are trained and competent to protect people from abuse, the risk of abuse and ensure their human rights are respected and upheld," it states.

Basis of concerns

CQC east regional director Frances Carey said: "The trust has provided us with its action plan and has advised that significant progress has already been achieved since we first provided feedback on this judgement.

"We will check to make sure that the actions outlined by the trust result in compliance with the standard."

In a statement, Hinchingbrooke said: "We take this report extremely seriously and we would like to reassure our patients that we continuously strive to provide the highest level of patient care.

"The trust has met with the CQC to try and further understand the basis of their concerns and we will continue to do so."

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