‘Lack of respect’ for children at ‘inadequate’ hospital

The CQC has found that the staff at Huntercombe Hospital Stafford failed to provide kind and compassionate care and did not treat children with respect. The hospital was downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ by the CQC.

Huntercombe Hospital Stafford was placed in special measures under previous provider Huntercombe (No 13) Ltd in 2016, but was rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission two years later.

This inspection in October 2021 was the hospital’s first inspection under provider Huntercombe Young People Ltd, which took over the service in February 2021. It has exposed a raft of safety concerns and instances of poor care. 

The inspectors flagged up a heavy reliance on agency staff, workers with their “eyes closed” on observations, and staff not respecting young people’s pronouns. Staff observation of patients was also found to be “undermined” by a blind spot where people could self-harm unseen, the CQC report, published today, said.

Children also told the CQC they felt staff did not always understand their mental health condition or know how to support them, particularly those on the psychiatric intensive care ward with eating disorders or autism. As well as being rated “inadequate” overall, the hospital was also rated “inadequate” for the safe, caring and well-led domains. It was rated “requires improvement” for effectiveness and “good” for responsiveness. 

Full story in the HSJ, 10 March 2022

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