Yew Trees hospital: Police confirm 'abuse' investigation

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Image caption,
Yew Trees hospital closed for renovation work in the summer and has not reopened

An assault is among "a number of allegations" made to police investigating a mental health unit.

Ten workers at the Yew Trees hospital in Kirby-le-Soken were suspended amid claims patients were "dragged, slapped and kicked".

Essex Police said it received a report of an assault in July, and officers had reviewed CCTV footage as a result.

The force said two people had been "voluntarily interviewed" as part of the ongoing investigation.

It said "a number of other allegations" had been reported since the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections.

The healthcare watchdog carried out unannounced checks at Yew Trees in July and August, after provider Cygnet Health Care reported allegations of patient abuse.

At the time, the 10-bed hospital held eight adult female patients with autism or learning disabilities, but the unit is now closed, the CQC said.

'Ongoing investigation'

Essex Police said it was told of the assault on 21 July, two days after it was reported to have happened.

"As a result of this investigation, which remains ongoing, we have voluntarily interviewed two people, obtained witness statements and have reviewed CCTV footage of the incident," the force said.

"Since an inspection was carried out by the Care Quality Commission at Yew Tree Hospital, a number of other allegations were reported to us in August and these have also been referred to our officers.

"Those investigations also remain ongoing."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Essex Police is now investigating allegations of abuse at Yew Tree hospital

The CQC said a decision will now be made on enforcement action.

A spokeswoman for Cygnet Health Care said eight members of staff and two agency workers were suspended after the allegations came to light. Four people have since been sacked.

Two members of staff had been referred to police, she added.

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