The Care Quality Commission has published a report detailing the reasons behind its decision to close a hospital near Market Drayton for people with a learning disability and autistic people, after it found service users were at sustained risk of harm.

The CQC inspected Eldertree Lodge in Ashley, run by Coveberry, part of CareTech, in May and June to determine whether the service had addressed failings it highlighted following an inspection in March. Following the previous inspection, the hospital was rated Inadequate, required to provide regular progress reports to the CQC, and barred from admitting new patients.

The latest inspection found the failings had not been addressed and service users continued to receive unsafe care. There were also instances where people had been subjected to abuse. The hospital was Inadequate for a second time.

The CQC also removed Coveberry’s registration to provide inpatient treatment and high-dependency rehabilitation services at Eldertree Lodge. All services providing regulated healthcare need CQC registration for the patient group they serve to provide a lawful service, so this action led to the hospital’s closure. 

Debbie Ivanova, CQC deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said: “After our March inspection found people were at risk of harm at Eldertree Lodge, we supported Coveberry Limited to help it improve the care it provided its patients by identifying areas it urgently needed to address. Disappointingly, progress was not made.

“Our subsequent inspection, in May and June, found people continued to receive unsafe care. In some cases, people were subjected to abuse and interactions that lacked compassion, dignity or respect. This is unacceptable and people deserved better. Additionally, the environment was unhygienic and poorly maintained, as well as blighted by blind spots which undermined staff observation of patients.

“The lack of progress between the two inspections did not assure us Coveberry could deliver the change it desperately needed to make at Eldertree Lodge. Consequently, we took action to close the hospital. Closing a service is a last resort, but we do not hesitate to act proportionally when people are at risk of harm or receiving poor care.”

Date published: August 12, 2021

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