Call for continued progress at Dundee care home

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SCOTLAND’S care watchdog has called for continued progress to be made at a private psychiatric hospital in Dundee where five members of staff were suspended earlier this year following allegations of “inappropriate behaviour.”

The staff, suspended in January, were employed at the city’s Monroe House in Americanmuir Road - an independent hospital which provides assessment and intervention for men and women who have a learning disability or complex needs.

In March the quality of management and leadership at Monroe House was described as “weak” by inspectors from Health Improvement Scotland (HIS) who carried out a series of inspections at the hospital after the allegations came to light.

But a new report, published today by HIS inspectors, following another unannounced inspection, has highlighted the continued improvements being made at the 26 bed psychiatric hospital which provides healthcare services for adults with learning disabilities, associated mental health problems and challenging behaviour.

An HIS spokesman said: “The purpose of this inspection was to look at the progress made in meeting the requirements made at the previous inspection. We also looked at medication management as a result of notifications of medicine errors made by the service. While the requirements from the previous inspections have not been met, we were able to see that progress has been made to meet these. We have agreed that we will extend the timeframes of the requirements to allow the provider to fully meet these.”

Susan Brimelow, the HIS Chief Inspector, said: “While the requirements from the previous inspections have not been met, we were able to see that progress has been made to meet these. However, our inspection resulted in one new requirement and one new recommendation. We will continue to carry out rigorous inspection to monitor Monroe House’s progress in addressing these issues and have made it clear to the provider that the requirements must be addressed as a matter of priority.”

The new report assessed the quality of care and support as “very good” and the quality of staffing as “good.” But the quality of management and leadership continues to be assessed as “weak.”

The report states: “On receipt of this report, the provider must ensure that there is clear management overview of staff practice in the service. In order to achieve this, the provider must: a) be able to demonstrate that there are effective systems in place to ensure that staff are not engaging in negative caring behaviours b) have systems in place to ensure that staff undergo formal debriefing following any serious incidents within the service, and c) ensure that staff overtime is monitored and be assured that the amount of extra hours staff are working is not having a negative effect on patient care.”

As part of new requirements, set by the HIS, the hospital has been ordered to review the prescription process for obtaining medications to ensure that people who use the service receive medicines as soon as possible after they are prescribed.

At the time the staff were suspended the hospital was being run by Darlington-based Castlebeck Care. A Castlebeck care home in Bristol was exposed by the BBC Panorama programme last year when a reporter was taken on as an unqualified support worker and filmed secretly for four weeks. The footage showed workers at the Winterbourne View unit, in Hambrook routinely slapping and kicking patients, pinning them to the floor and drenching them with cold water.

Castelbeck Care went into into administration five months ago.