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Cygnet leadership called into question in health watchdog report

Tuesday 14th January 2020

THE leadership of a chain of private mental hospitals - including a facility in Maidstone - has been called into question following a documentary aired by the BBC.

A Panorama expose broadcast allegations of abuse based on an undercover reporter's filming at a unit in Co Durham.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) followed this up with a probe into the management of Cygnet Health Care.
The firm said it was addressing concerns that had been raised, according to the BBC.

Cygnet runs dozens of facilities and for vulnerable adults and children, caring for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and eating disorders. Cygnet in Maidstone also treats mentally ill criminals referred by the courts.

The CQC reported a lack of clear lines of accountability between the executive team and its services. Insufficient checks had been carried out on top executives to assess suitability, said the CQC.

Downs Mail has detailed a a catalogue of issues at the hospital since it opened in October 2018, including assaults, weapons, escape and dozens of police reports to violent incident.

Cygnet said: "At Cygnet, we treat some of the most acute patients that other providers may not be able or willing to support. We always aim to de-escalate and advocate least restrictive practices in line with current good practice guidelines.

"The report recognises it does not take into account the level of need or acuity of individual patients admitted to these wards."

An inquiry has been ordered into how a seriously mentally ill man treated in Maidstone was assessed as low risk and mistakenly released by Cygnet a month early went onto kill his father four days later.