Why is health board sending patients to these hospitals?
Mental health patients from north Wales have been sent to some institutions in England that are classified as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’.
An Freedom of Information request by Plaid Cymru revealed Betsi Cadwaladr health board spent about £36 million on mental health services in the private sector last year, including many millions on specialist institutions in England. However some of these institutions are rated as “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission, prompting calls for an urgent review by a regional Assembly Member.
The situation has been described as “hugely concerning” and Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has raised questions about how patients and their treatment are being monitored by Betsi Cadwaladr once they’re over the border.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said:
“There are private specialist mental health services over the border and I understand why some patients would be sent there if those services are not available locally. However, Betsi is spending £36 million a year in total on these services and I would hope that all homes, hospitals and institutions were thoroughly vetted beforehand.
“To discover that at least two are deemed ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission is hugely concerning and raises questions about the monitoring of those patients one they’re sent there.
“I want assurances from senior management that they are monitoring this situation properly and that patients from north Wales and elsewhere are not being put at risk.”
Many of these institutions have a Good or Excellent rating. However, at least two institutions with patients from north Wales – in Cygnet Healthcare’s Lodge Wyke in Bradford and Partnerships in Care’s Kneesworth sites – are listed as “inadequate” by the CQC after its latest inspection. A further three have been found to “require improvement”.
Mr Gruffydd added: “These are serious failings – Lodge Wyke was deemed to be inadequate when it came to safety, effectiveness, caring and being well-led. In terms of safety, that meant patients were put at risk in terms of monitoring and managing medicines. Is BCUHB aware of this and, if so, why is it sending patients there?”
He also questioned whether Labour’s health minister Vaughan Gething was aware of the situation: “Mental health care was one of the issues that led to BCUHB being put into special measures more than four years ago. Since then, it has come under the direct control of the Government in Cardiff so I would expect the health minister was aware.”