Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Gloucestershire assessment and treatment unit rated inadequate by CQC

A care service for people with learning disabilities and autistic people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Berkeley House is a stand-alone unit run by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust. It is designed to provide short term care while a specialist assessment is carried out and treatment plans are put in place (sometimes known as an assessment and treatment unit or ATU).

The care service, which is arranged into seven flats, was previously rated good. Concerns were raised about the level of care provided late last year, causing the CQC to reinspect the wards.

CQC found residents were not supported to lead independent lives

The watchdog found that the residents of Berkley House were not supported to lead independent lives or pursue hobbies and interests. For example, one person had not undertaken any activity for 14 days, while another had only had six activities in 31 days.

Staff were found to be ‘unnecessarily restricting people’s freedoms’ and were not supporting people to leave the service or engage with the community. There was also ‘excessive’ usage of CCTV cameras, with one flat housing five cameras with ‘no real reason’ as to why this was needed.

The flats were not safe, clean or well looked after, with some needing major repairs. Some flats had boarded up windows and doors with very few personal effects to make people feel comfortable.

The CQC also found that people did not have clear discharge plans and psychological assessments were not being carried out. In fact, there had not been a psychologist in place at the service for over two years.

Medicines policies were not being closely followed either, with healthcare assistants administering medicines that were not in line with the trust’s guidance.

Cleanliness and safety of flats ‘unacceptable’

However, some aspects of the service were working well. Family members said they were happy with the care provided overall, while two said they had not voiced concerns due to fear of ‘rocking the boat’.

The residents had regular contact with family members and access to advocates where required, and risks assessments were regularly carried out. People’s communication needs were also being met, with information shared in a way the residents could understand.

Nevertheless, Catherine Campbell, CQC’s director of operations in the south, said the cleanliness and safety of the flats and the lack of personal touches were “unacceptable” and the heavy use of CCTV was “not dignified”.

Ms Campbell says the trust has been told where “significant and rapid improvements” are needed, and Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust says work has commenced on this.

“We will return to check this has been done and will continue to monitor the service while this happens,” Ms Campbell said.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More