The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published (14th January 2020) a damming report of their review of Cygnet Health Care Ltd. The review highlights serious concerns around the leadership and governance arrangements of Cygnet Health Care Ltd, a large provider of services for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities.
The report summarises findings from a CQC review of Cygnet Health Care services carried out in July 2019, following the concerns raised in the BBC Panorama programme in May 2019 regarding the safety and culture of Cygnet Whorlton Hall. Sadly this report has shown other Cygnet services are failing in the delivery of services for children, young people and adults by:
- Care and treatment not always including best practice.
- A high use of physical restraint and seclusion across services compared to similar services in other mental health providers and a higher number of patient assaults by other patients and self-harm compared with NHS providers of similar services.
- No lines of accountability across all of Cygnet Health Care’s locations.
- Providers using different information systems to notify and manage risks across the organisation.
- The executive team not ensuring all locations had a registered manager in post. As of June 2019, 8% of locations did not have a registered manager, with three of these not having a registered manager for a period of six months.
Despite these failings, Cygnet is a provider who in their ‘financial statement filed in September 2018 showed “…an operating profit of around £40 million”. The majority of care provided by Cygnet Health Care is funded by the NHS, raising serious concerns regarding the quality of commissioning of services for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities that needs to be addressed urgently.
Children, young people and adults with learning disabilities have the same rights to have good lives and feel safe as we all do. Now that CQC have identified specific improvements to leadership and governance for Cygnet Health Care, it is essential that these issues are addressed urgently and appropriately for the safety and well-being of children, young people and adults with learning disabilities.
It is important also to note this is the latest in a long line of reports which highlight the ‘system’, meant to be there to protect and support children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and/ autism, is not fit for purpose. Changing this requires all parts of the system (health, social care, education and housing) to work together with people with lived experience, in a coherent and resourced cross government approach to urgently drive change and deliver good outcomes for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and their families.
For families worried about their relative’s care, see the webpages below for information and where to go for support: