AN EBBW Vale hospital treating young people with mental health issues was prevented from admitting new patients for a month due to safety concerns.

Staff at Hillview Hospital in Ebbw Vale failed to provide adequate care notes and risk assessments for several patients, according to a Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) report.

In one case, no risk management was in place for a patient capable of self-harm and physical harm to others, with the risk of using bathroom facilities not properly addressed.

Regis Healthcare, which runs the independent hospital, said the report was “historical” and not reflective of the current situation.

Positive follow-up inspections saw admission restrictions lifted in May, but HIW say Regis Healthcare will continue to be monitored.

The report recounts the findings of an unannounced three-day visit in April this year – the hospital’s seventh inspection since March 2018.

Inspectors said they were “not assured” that safe and effective care was being provided on the 12-bed Brenin ward, which caters patients aged 13 to 18.

“The findings of this inspection, along with previous inspections, point to a distinct lack of effective governance arrangements which has the potential impact significantly on the safety of patients,” says the report.

After examining six sets of patient care documentation and observing hospital practices, the inspection found:

  • Incomplete or non-existent care plans and risk management plans that failed to address the level of supervision for bathroom access the risks associated with using such facilities
  • One patient was admitted as an emergency admission without there being an emergency admission policy in place.
  • Staff had no management plan to help in assisting one patient refusing an adequate diet, with said patient found to not be getting enough daily fluids to meet European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendations.
  • Employment files were missing two recent references and, in some cases, any references.
  • No evidence that staff were trained in dealing with eating disorders and learning difficulties, as well as requirements of the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts.
  • A “distinct lack” of leadership and management at the hospital relating to governance.

Following the inspection HIW blocked Hillview from accepting new admissions until May 15, when Regis Healthcare were found to have made progress.

A HIW spokesman said: “Meetings with the management team of Regis Healthcare and a follow-up visit to Hillview Hospital provided us with sufficient evidence and assurance that the necessary improvements had been made.

“The setting continues to be monitored to ensure that the improvements are sustained.”

Regis Healthcare said staff were committed to providing high standards of care and support amidst a national shortage for beds in low secure units and child and adolescent mental health services.

A spokesman said: “At present there is a national crisis and Hillview is a leading provider for a greatly-needed services.

“Many of our competitors in England are unable to accept new referrsals at the current time, and Hillview is providing a much-needed solution to ease the current UK-wide pressure on beds.

“We are extremely proud of the quality of care we provide and the difference we are making to young people in need of treatment, this is reflected in the long waiting list we have for admissions.”

But the spokesman claimed that HIW had been “highly critical” of the facility’s bathroom privacy care plans having made several changes, under the watchdog’s recommendations, since last year.