Healthcare Commission finds failings at mental health hospital

A privately-run mental hospital in Yorkshire was warned today that it faces stiff penalties after a number of significant failings were uncovered by a Healthcare Commission inspection.

Linden House, a 97-bed medium and low secure hospital in Market Weighton run by Care Principles Ltd, was slapped with a total of three enforcement notices by the commission following two inspections carried out last year.

An inspection in September was triggered by concerns over “persistent regulatory non-compliance” at the hospital. In total, inspectors identified 54 regulatory requirements that were “not met” or “almost met”.

Failure to meet needs of learning disabled

These included requirement for patient risk assessments, seclusion of patients, handling of medicines, staffing levels and meeting the needs of patients with learning disabilities.

But although a further inspection in December to check on progress found that the hospital had dealt with some of the issues, others had not been addressed. Specifically, hospital management had failed to report all incidents of violent and aggressive behaviour and medication stock checks were not being completed.


Nigel Ellis, the commission’s head of investigations, said: “The situation that we found in September at Linden House was unacceptable and potentially put the safety of patients at risk, which is why we have had to take tough action.”

Ellis said that the hospital had acted to increase staffing levels and had improved its co-ordination with local police over missing patients.

“But there remains more to do,” he added. “No-one should be in any doubt that if we do not see rapid improvements in the areas we have highlighted, further enforcement action will be taken.”

Further spot checks

The Healthcare Commission will carry out further spot checks on Linden House and warned it would take stronger action if necessary.

A spokesperson for Linden House said that, according to its assessment, it had successfully tackled all but two of the 54 original regulatory requirements.

It welcomed the further spot checks and said it was voluntarily submitting progress reports to the commission every two weeks.

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