Tyne & Wear

'Inadequate' Hexham care home put in special measures

Chesterholme Image copyright Cygnet Healthcare
Image caption Chesterholme cares for people with a learning disability or autism

A care home run by the same provider as a specialist hospital at the centre of abuse allegations has been put into special measures.

Chesterholme, in Northumberland, is run by Cygnet Healthcare, as was Whorlton Hall, where BBC footage appeared to show patients mocked and intimidated.

Chesterholme, in Hexham, has been rated inadequate by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors who visited in May.

Cygnet said significant steps had been taken to address Chesterholme's issues.

The inspection at Chesterholme, which cares for people with a learning disability or autism, followed concerns about the provider's safety and culture raised in the BBC Panorama programme on Whorlton Hall earlier this year.

It found staff turnover was 45% and there were high numbers of unqualified and untrained staff employed to support people with complex needs.

Staff were "unable to communicate a shared vision for the service and were unsure which policies or governance structures were relevant".

'Recently acquired'

Risk assessments were not consistently updated, and medication for use in emergencies following rapid tranquilisation were not kept on site.

However, inspectors also reported that the environment was clean and well maintained and staff interactions with people were mostly positive.

Image caption Cygnet Healthcare also ran Whorlton Hall hospital

The CQC said it would keep the service under close review and make a return inspection in due course.

Cygnet Healthcare said it had "recently acquired" the home and was "investing significant resources to further enhance the infrastructure and management capability across the group's facilities".

It added: "We remain committed to acting upon the report's recommendations and working closely with the CQC to ensure we provide the highest standard and quality of care."

Whorlton Hall hospital was closed following the alleged abuse revealed in the Panorama programme, with patients transferred elsewhere.

At the time Cygnet said it was "shocked and deeply saddened" and would co-operate with the police inquiry. In June three nurses filmed there were suspended from practice.

The CQC, which did not publish a report in 2015 that criticised aspects of care at Whorlton Hall, denied having been aware of abuse there. Drafts of the 2015 report were published following the Panorama programme.

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