'Inadequate' Sheffield NHS service closed to new patients as director says he is 'very sorry' for failures

The director of an NHS service for Sheffield residents has apologised after the healthcare watchdog stopped a specialist autism and learning disabilities unit from accepting new patients.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:10 am

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS), known as Firshill Rise, has been banned from admitting new patients following a scathing report by the CQC.

It includes serious concerns that service users are not being protected from abuse, failures over basic needs like food and water and allegations of failings by the service’s leadership.

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Sheffield NHS service failed to protect patients from abuse and ignored basic ne...

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Pictured is Dr Mike Hunter from SHSC…….Pic Steve Ellis

In a statement today (July 15), medical director at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust Mike Hunter said: “We are very sorry that we have not delivered good care consistently in our unit at Firshill Rise and we will improve the care we provide there.

“We have now temporarily closed the unit to admissions to give us time to make the required changes including training for staff and thinking carefully about how we provide services in the future. The service users who are still in the unit have more activities and extra support to help them have a better experience in our care.

“We will work with service users, their families and carers, and our health and care partners to make these changes.

"We will ensure that Sheffield and South Yorkshire have an Assessment and Treatment unit that we can all be proud of, because it supports the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Firshill Rise

The move follows an inspection by the commission in the Spring, in which inspectors said they saw staff talking among themselves while ignoring patients’ needs, and failures to protect their patients from abuse. The QCQ’s report was published today (July 15).

Inspectors visited the trust in April and May to look at the service, near Pitsmoor, which has seven beds and provides assessment and support to people with a learning disability or autistic people who are experiencing mental health needs and difficulties with behaviour.

It was an unannounced inspection, which they were carrying out after safeguarding concerns were raised by trust staff and other health and social care providers.