Forest House mental health support provision in Hertfordshire requiring improvement

Services provided at Forest House Adolescent Unit which is run by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) have been found by the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) to “require improvement” and whilst this is an improvement on the previous “inadequate” rating, the CQC believe there are still steps to be taken to improve the service provision.

Mental health wards under the Trust are provided at Forest House. Forest House is a 16-bed unit providing specialist inpatient care and treatment for young people living in or outside Hertfordshire, aged 13 to 18 years, requiring admission as an inpatient thus allowing for more severe mental health problems to be assessed and treated.

When the CQC inspected the service in 2022 they considered whether the service provision was safe; effective; caring; responsive to people’s needs and well-led. In all categories they found the provision “required improvement”. This latest inspection found that the Trust had met with the legal requirements imposed upon them as a result of a previous inspection and there had been an improvement but there were still areas of concern which included:

  • The ward had no call bell system for patients. If help was required they would rely on staff to use their personal alarms. The CQC were concerned this could cause a delay in the event of an emergency
  • When patients were secluded in their bedroom, there had been a previous occasion where a patient’s room had not been cleared to ensure removal of items that may be used by the patient to cause harm
  • The ward depended upon bank and agency nursing staff to meeting the needs of patients. There was some concern raised around inconsistent care as a result of this particularly in the evenings and over weekends
  • Not all staff reported incidents in line with trust policy. The Trust were advised and as a result addressed this

You can find more about this, along with access to the inspection report itself below:

We have been approached by families who believe their children have been subject to negligent care including during the time they spent at Forest House. There was a failure to make an appropriate diagnosis. When a diagnosis was made, inappropriate treatment was provided. There was a failure to appropriately supervise and care for patients which led to harm. Families’ concerns about diagnosis and treatment were ignored. As a result, the patient’s condition deteriorated during their time in Forest House rather than improve.

Our clinical negligence team has a wealth of experience in dealing with a variety of clinical negligence claims. If you think that you, or a loved one, may have been affected by negligent medical care, you are welcome to contact our team to discuss how we can help and support you.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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