Calderstones chiefs hit back at shocking report

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Whalley’s Calderstones Hospital, which looks after patients with learning difficulties, has been strongly criticised by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

Calderstones NHS Trust has been told it must take urgent action to address serious deficiencies in its care of vulnerable people.

Now, health officials at the scandal-hit hospital have vowed to take the criticisms seriously and have already drawn up an action plan.

Inspectors visited the hospital in July and, although they found staff delivering care in a kind and compassionate manner, they felt the trust failed to maintain cleanliness and hygiene on wards, problems with levels of staffing on some wards were noted, as well as poor medicines management, the frequency with which patients were restrained, and a failure to adequately monitor the use of the Mental Health Act.

The government inspectors reported: “Some of the wards and seclusion rooms inspectors visited were dirty or very unsafe.

“On more than a quarter of occasions when physical restraint was used in the six months prior to the inspection, the patient was held on the floor in a face-down position.”

The report also stated: “The trust must also ensure it adheres to best practice for food labelling, monitoring of fridge temperatures and the maintenance of equipment.”

Calderstones chief executive Mr Mark Hindle said, since the inspection, he had already instituted an action plan to address the failings, including appointing a new taskforce to tackle the problem of overuse of physical restraint.

“The inspection was an important snapshot at that time and, disappointingly, it highlighted a number of unacceptable and inadequate areas of process and service delivery, which we acknowledge and have taken immediate steps to improve,” he commented.

“There are challenges in supporting people with extremes of behaviour many have committed crimes that put themselves and other people in danger. We accept the inspectors’ concerns about cleanliness and other issues. While some parts of the Trust show areas of good practice, there are others where standards fell seriously below expectations. We’ve ensured resource, time, money and expertise are in place to address these shortcomings and many have already been put right.

“In some cases, wards which the report referred to are being closed in the next few weeks. We have employed additional staff and plan to take on more over the coming months as we agree funding with commissioners.”