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The Care Quality Commission has issued a warning notice to a mental health trust after inspectors found that staff at one of its services failed to act properly on safeguarding concerns.

The regulator ruled that West London Mental Health Trust had failed to protect patients at The Limes, an NHS unit run as a nursing home for people with dementia, from abuse. Staff did not understand their responsibility to report incidents to the local authority safeguarding team, inspectors found.

“The incident record held at the service showed that aggressive incidents occurred between people who use the service. However, these had not been reported to the local authority safeguarding team,” the CQC’s inspection report found.
West London Mental Health NHS Trust said it was “acting immediately” to address the concerns raised by CQC.

During the CQC’s inspection a service manager told CQC that incidents were discussed at weekly staff meetings but inspectors found record of “only one” discussion of one incident. The manager also confirmed that 12 incidents of patient injury identified by CQC inspectors had not been referred to the safeguarding team.

The CQC first raised problems with safeguarding at the service after an inspection last year. At the time the mental health trust said the service would be compliant by June 2013. But a follow-up inspection carried out in August 2013 found that the trust had “not taken reasonable steps to identify and prevent abuse”.

A spokesperson for West London Mental Health NHS Trust said:

“The trust regrets that the service at the Limes has fallen short of the standards of care we expect and families deserve. The trust is acting immediately to address the concerns. We have developed an action plan that includes improving training in safeguarding, and holding weekly reviews so that staff understand the causes of incidents and develop plans to prevent them in future.

“We have introduced new executive leadership and clinical leadership into local services and they are working closely with staff at the Limes to ensure the care and the systems we have in place there are of the highest standards.“

Andy McNicoll is Community Care’s community editor

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