A CARE home for people with mental health conditions that has a chequered past has been slammed as inadequate once again by the health watchdog.

Uplands Independent Hospital in Park Lane, Fareham dropped from good to inadequate in its latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in January.

The hospital, which is run by Coveberry Limited, provides long stay and rehabilitation mental health services for up to 30 adults.

This is not the first time that poor care has been highlighted at the facility, with the CQC rating it as requiring improvement in 2017, in 2016 and again in 2015.

Prior to that, in 2014 the health watchdog inspected after serious concerns were raised and it found that patients were not getting the care they required and that care plans and risk assessments had not been updated. It also raised concerns about training and staff supervision.

That year also saw a police probe into allegations of abuse and a care worker was charged with assault.

However it had appeared to improve, with inspectors rating its service as good in December 2018.

But the latest inspection, which was carried out during an unannounced inspection after a number of concerns about the safety and quality of care  were raised, has seen the service drop from good to inadequate overall.

Karen Bennett-Wilson, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: “When we inspected Uplands Independent Hospital, we were concerned to find that the service wasn’t focused on supporting people to regain the skills and confidence to live independently so they could be discharged as quickly as possible. Instead, the culture in the hospital was more like a care home where people stay on a long-term basis.

“We found people were staying in the hospital for an average of five years, and some had been there for as long as 22 years. This is far too long, putting people are at risk of becoming institutionalised and not being able to live a full and active life in the community.

“It was distressing to hear that people receiving care at Uplands Hospital didn’t always feel safe, and that some staff didn’t always speak kindly to them.

“In addition, people told us that some staff could be threatening, dictating and on occasions, they laughed at them, which impacted on their mental health.

"People also told us some staff didn’t always act in their best interests or respond when they asked for help, emotional support or advice. Some staff told us that some colleagues used derogatory language when talking to people, but they didn’t feel confident about raising the issue of disrespectful, discriminatory or abusive behaviour that they witnessed with managers.”

She said that ‘out-of-date care plans and risk assessments’ were found, which meant people may not be receiving the care or treatment they needed.

She said there had been little action on an improvement plan that had been developed when the hospital director took up post.

Ms Bennett-Wilson added: “Following the inspection, we told the provider it must make a number of immediate improvements to ensure people receive safe care. The hospital is now in special measures which means we will continue to monitor it closely to ensure improvements are made and fully embedded in a timely manner.”

The CQC report found that the hospital did not have suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff to deliver person-centred and recovery-focused care safely to patients. And that not all staff had completed their mandatory training.

It also criticised the senior leadership’s governance arrangements to monitor the safety of care. And said there was ‘little evidence of a rehabilitation and recovery model of care’.

Staff were noted as failing to provide care according to the individual needs of the patients, not reviewing risk assessments and not managing medicines ‘effectively and safely.

It also found that wards were not being cleaned regularly and some bedrooms that were no longer being used contained broken furniture and dirty clothes.

The full report will be published on the CQC website on Friday, April 1.

Coveberry Limited, which is part of CareTech Community Services, said it had put a robust plan in place to make sure improvements happen. 

They said: “We acknowledge the findings of the published CQC report following a visit in January 2022. A robust action plan has been put in place, and is already making a tangible difference. A new hospital director and additional consultant psychiatrist support continue to make sustainable improvements, and we are confident that significant progress has been made since the time of the inspection.

“The safety and wellbeing of the people in the service is our highest priority and we will continue to work closely with CQC, Commissioners and other stakeholders to ensure that the level of care provided at Uplands meets the highest standards.”

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.