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Cygnet Hospital Godden Green in Sevenoaks rated as good by Care Quality Commission - a year after damning inspection

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A hospital has been rated as good - a year after it shut its mental health services for children and adolescents after a damning inspection by the same health body.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) returned in September to Sevenoaks' Cygnet Hospital Godden Green to check it had addressed concerns highlighted in the previous inspection report.

Staff at Cygnet Hospital Godden Green in Sevenoaks
Staff at Cygnet Hospital Godden Green in Sevenoaks

An unannounced inspection by the CQC in November 2020 had found repeated incidents where young people suffered harm and injury - leading to the hospital making the decision to move all young patients from the site - as it was rated as requiring improvement earlier this year.

But this time around, inspectors found hospital staff now use physical restraint “as a last resort.”

CQC’s head of hospital inspection for mental health Karen Bennet-Wilson said: “Following our latest inspection of Cygnet Hospital Godden Green, we found an experienced leadership team was now in place and they had made a number of improvements to the service.

“People's experience of using these services was much more positive.

“Physical restraint, when people were in distress, was now a last resort - and staff made every attempt to avoid using restraint by using de-escalation techniques.

"We welcome the improvements made by Cygnet Hospital Godden Green..."

“People can also feel reassured that regular checks were now taking place to ensure any risks that could result in them harming themselves were identified and removed or managed appropriately. Dangerous items were also now being stored securely.

“We found that the wards were clean and had enough doctors and nurses. Staff treated patients with dignity and respect and knew how to protect them.

“We welcome the improvements made by Cygnet Hospital Godden Green and look forward to returning to see what further improvements have been made.”

Hospital manager Simba Kaseke was delighted by the latest report.

“To go from a position where we were rated as 'requires improvement' to 'good' in under nine months is a fantastic achievement and reflects the dedication and commitment of all the team here to improve the service and do our very best for all our residents,” he said.

Cygnet Hospital Godden Green in Sevenoaks. Picture: Google
Cygnet Hospital Godden Green in Sevenoaks. Picture: Google

“There is national recognition of an increasing demand for mental health acute services and we are pleased to say that, since the inspection, we have also been able to open a new ward that is providing specialist support to six women who are in the later stages of their care and are now planning their discharge out of the hospital.

“As the report highlights, we place great emphasis on making sure patients and their relatives and carers are involved in care decisions, and on creating a safe and secure environment that, from the point of admission, actively works towards supporting people to return to the community.”

The CQC inspection also found staff “actively involved patients and their families or carers in the planning of their care”, helped patients stay in contact with families and carers, and service beds were managed so a bed was always available to a person who would benefit from admission.

Mr Kaseke added: "Although one of the CQC’s key lines of enquiry – for the service being responsive – was rated as 'requires improvement', we adopted the CQC’s recommendations immediately to provide additional privacy to patients.

"And as part of our commitment towards continuous improvement, we also have introduced a rota of 'monthly walkabouts' where our ward managers go onto the other ward in order to peer review and share learning and good practice."

But the report did, however, find “there were occasions on both wards when staff entered clinic’s rooms without knocking or identifying whether it was appropriate to enter” despite the overall improvements.

The Cygnet Hospital in Weavering, Maidstone, also part of Cygnet Health Care, has come under fire this year, too.

This August, the family of young woman Emma Pring, who died at The Cygnet Hospital on April 20, said they want the coroner to look into whether she should have been receiving one-to-one care.

She had been a patient on the Roseacre Ward since July 2020, having previously been treated by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust in Eastbourne.

Following changes, the Cygnet Hospital Godden Green now only provides specialist inpatient acute and psychiatric intensive care services to adult women.

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