Sheffield mental health hospital told it “must improve”


A Sheffield hospital specialising in the care of women and children with mental health issues has been told it must improve, following an inspection.

Concerns including failure to maintain cleanliness, poor medicines management and issues with patients’ dignity and respect in seclusion rooms were highlighted at the Alpha Hospital, Sheffield.

The inappropriate use of restrictive practices within the child and adolescent metal health services (CAMHS) was also raised by inspectors.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has told the hospital that it must make improvements following the inspection by the Care Quality Commission in February.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for mental health), said: “The conditions that we found on some of the wards of Alpha Hospital Sheffield were unacceptable.”

The inspection team observed instances of staff delivering care in a kind and respectful manner but said there were a number of areas the needed improvement.

Dr Lelliott added: “It should go without saying that a hospital ward should be clean and patients and staff protected from the risk of infection.

“Although there were a sufficient number of qualified nursing staff on duty, too many of the nurses working in the child and adolescent mental health wards were agency staff. These nurses did not always know the patients well or fully understand the ward routines. This sometimes led to to inconsistencies in patient care.

“We were concerned to find that children and young people admitted to the hospital on an informal basis had their movements restricted and were not allowed to have visitors. Such practices need to be reviewed to ensure that patients have the rights they are entitled to.

“We have made it clear where action needs to be taken and our inspectors will return in due course to check that that the necessary improvements have been made.”

The Alpha Hospital provides specialist adult mental health services for women in a locked rehabilitation ward and a low secure ward. It also provides child and adolescent mental health services.

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