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Cygnet mental health unit rated unsafe

The Cygnet Acer Clinic, a privately run mental health unit, has been banned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) from admitting new patients; the inspectors found numerous safety failings, one of which led to a resident dying by hanging, and a trebling in the number of incidents of self-harm.

The CQC inspectors found that patients in the clinic had opportunities to hang themselves, and the unit had soaring levels of patient self harm, and a huge shortage of trained staff.

Since the start of 2017, it is the 33rd time that the CQC has rated a mental health inpatient unit in England run by a profit-driven company as inadequate, and the eighth time that has involved Cygnet.

The CQC included in its report that in one of the hospital’s two wards, Upper House, the number of incidents of self harm had more than trebled from 156 in May to 577 in July; also that managers and staff were leaving patients at risk of being able to hang themselves by not getting rid of all potential ligature points; and that “75% of staff were not qualified for the roles they were doing”.

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