Abuse at Cygnet Yew Trees Hospital

Abuse at Cygnet Yew Trees Hospital

In September 2020 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report following an inspection of Yew trees Hospital in July and August. The report had come about following concerns raised about the treatment of patients at this small hospital in Essex.  The investigation recorded appalling behaviour by staff, towards patients with learning difficulties, that has resulted in the hospital closing and a police investigation.

The report makes for grim reading. Whilst the CQC and the police have taken action, this does not mean that the most important individuals, vulnerable patients at the hospital, will obtain redress for the terrible harm meted out to them. Although nothing can erase the horror of what these vulnerable adults experienced, financial compensation can be pursued, to reflect the severity of the hospital abuse, the long-term consequences of that abuse on the individual’s physical and mental health, and additional costs and expenses to reimburse, perhaps, relatives who have paid to place their family member in another hospital or care home.

If you would like advice on seeking redress, financial compensation for your family member affected by the abusive behaviour of staff at Yew Trees Hospital please call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.  We provide a confidential and no obligation advice.

What is Yew Trees hospital?

Cygnet (OE) Ltd ran Cygnet Yew Trees Hospital. Yew Trees hospital was a 10 bed hospital for adult women who have   a learning disability, in Kirby-le-Soken, Essex. Cygnet Hospital took over the hospital in May 2019.

Yew Trees Hospital closed for renovation work in the summer. By October 2020 the hospital had not reopened.

When did the CQC Inspection of Yew Trees Hospital take place?

The inspection visit was conducted on the 24 and 30 July and 4 August 2020. The unannounced Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in July and August 2020 resulted in inspectors from the CQC obtaining 21 episodes of CCTV footage, showed staff dragged patients across the floor and did not use the correct restraint techniques. The inspectors witnessed, through the CCTV, “abusive, disrespectful, intimidating, aggressive and inappropriate behaviour” towards patients.

Why did the CQC carry out an inspection of Yew Trees Hospital?

During the Covid 19 pandemic the CQC continued to monitor and assess information from providers of health services.

The unannounced inspection of the hospital came about as a consequence of a report by managers at Cygnet Health Care, who monitored CCTV footage of an incident on the 18 July 2020. The CQC proceeded to carry out a focused inspection based on information received about the alleged abuse of patients. The inspection visit was conducted on the 24 and 30 July and 4 August 2020. The CQC published its results on the 23 September 2020

What did the CQC inspection of Yew Trees Hospital find?

As a consequence of the inspection the inspectors from the CQC identified the following areas of concern:-

  • Some staff did not protect patients from abuse and improper treatment. The CQC reviewed CCTV footage which showed staff physically and emotionally abusing a patient. Staff who witnessed the incident did not raise or report their concerns to anyone at the hospital.
  • The CQC reviewed 20 further episodes of CCTV footage, covering the period between May 2020 and July 2020. The CQC identified 8 (40%) examples of inappropriate staff behaviour, including physical and emotional abuse. No staff reported or raised concerns about this practice. Staff did not recognise when an incident of seclusion occurred and therefore the patient did not have access to the appropriate reviews and safeguards.
  • Staff did not record incidents accurately. 45% of the reports did not align with the CCTV footage. Staff did not accurately record the descriptions of the incidents and staff did not record the time of incidents accurately. None of the forms recorded inappropriate staff behaviour.
  • Managers failed to assess, monitor and mitigate risks relating to the health, safety and well-being of patients at the hospital. The CQC continued to identify breaches of regulations that were raised at previous inspections, carried out in January 2020 and October 2019.
  • Managers had not ensured they took every step to recruit and continually assess people with the right skills, experience and values to work with a vulnerable patient group. Managers did not offer regular and robust supervision.
  • Staff contributed to poor culture in the hospital that increased the risk of harm to patients. This included abuse and human rights breaches. Staff did not always report when they witnessed inappropriate behaviour of other staff. When staff did raise concerns, managers did not act on them and take steps to safeguard patients.

10 staff (8 permanent and 2 agency) were suspended from duty due to allegations of abusing patients, treating patients inappropriately, using excessive force or failing to report poor practice.

Four people have been sacked.

What did the Deputy Chief Inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health at the CQC say?

Dr Kevin Cleary, Deputy Chief Inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health said, “Some staff who had witnessed this abuse did not escalate it. Although they may have feared the consequences of speaking out against colleagues who had abused patients, their failure to act perpetuated abuse and allowed a culture of poor care to become established.

“Cygnet’s leadership has made efforts to address the harm people experienced while in its care, including suspending staff and making police referrals. This does not change or excuse the fact that a culture was allowed to develop at this hospital which led to people suffering abuse.”

What action have the police taken against Yew Trees Hospital?

Cygnet made referrals to the police. Two members of staff have been referred.

Essex police says it received a report of an assault on 21 July 2020, two days after an assault was reported to have occurred. Police officers reviewed CCTV footage. Essex police have said that 2 people have been “voluntarily interviewed” as part of their ongoing investigation, adding, “a number of other allegations” were reported to the police following the CQC inspections.

Call now for advice on how to make a hospital abuse compensation claim.

IBB Claims expert hospital abuse Solicitors have a strong track record of success, helping individuals to recover financial compensation for the abuse and harm they have suffered at the hands of others. We are able to support you, or a family member on behalf of the assaulted person, in making the claim and to get the best outcome.   To make hospital abuse claim against Yew Trees Hospital please call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.