Huntercombe Maidenhead
Huntercombe Maidenhead

The Care Quality Commission has warned Huntercombe Hospital Maidenhead, that it must make improvements to keep young people safe, following an unannounced, focused inspection which took place on 18 March.

The CQC has served a warning notice which requires the independent provider to put in place robust governance arrangements to ensure it has effective oversight of the care delivered at the hospital, and requires it to adopt a least restrictive approach to the delivery of care, in line with national best practice guidelines and minimum standards for psychiatric intensive care (PICU) wards.

The CQC has also imposed conditions on the provider’s registration, which prevent it from admitting young people to Severn or Thames PICU wards without the CQC’s permission and restricts the number of people on each ward to a maximum of 10 until further notice.

Huntercombe Hospital Maidenhead provides specialist child and adolescent mental health inpatient service, including psychiatric intensive care for young people. Until 5 March, the hospital was run by Huntercombe (No.12). It was rated Inadequate and was in special measures.

On 5 March, Huntercombe Young People took over the running of the hospital. This was the first inspection of the hospital under the new provider and as this was a focused inspection, the service was not re-rated.

Karen Bennet-Wilson, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection for mental health, said: “I am pleased to report that the new provider has made a number of improvements since taking over the management of Huntercombe Hospital Maidenhead. However, while clear progress has been made to respond to some of the areas of concern that we had previously identified, not all of these had been addressed.

“Recognising that significant improvements still need to be made, the provider has put a new, strengthened leadership team in place. We found that they demonstrated a good understanding of the issues at the hospital and appeared to know what needed to be done to make the required changes in a timely manner.

“We have now issued the provider with a warning notice; we have also served a notice of decision to impose a condition on the registration. Reducing the number of young people on the wards will allow staff to focus on young people’s care without the additional pressure of dealing with admissions or readmissions. This will enable the new leadership team to fully review the care it provides to young people and to focus on promoting a positive culture where care is delivered with a least restrictive, person-centred, proactive and preventative approach.

“We have told the provider that it must submit a report saying what action it will take to address the issues raised. We will continue to monitor the service to ensure that improvements are made and fully embedded.”

Inspectors found a number of areas of concern:

• The provider did not have robust governance systems in place

• It had not carried out a review of care to ensure that it was fit for purpose and whether any improvements could be made

•  It had not adopted a holistic, proactive, preventative and least restrictive approach to care, such as adopting positive behavioural support, in line with national best practice guidelines

• There was no clear oversight of the management of incidents, including the safeguarding of incidents

However, the following improvements had been made:

• Prescribing practices had been improved and the use of intramuscular medication had been reduced

• The appropriate capacity and competence assessments had been carried out

• Parents and/or guardians were regularly invited to participate in patient review meetings

• Severn ward had been decorated and was bright and welcoming. Staff were also in the process of setting up a sensory room on the ward.

A spokesperson for The Huntercombe Group, said: “We recognise that while improvements have been made to some aspects of the quality of care at our Maidenhead hospital, our progress hasn’t been wide-ranging or fast enough. We’re confident that our new senior leadership team will speed up this progress – they have been urgently implementing our action plan to provide our patients with the best possible care.”

Date published: May 19, 2021

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