CQC inspection finds Tolworth Hospital missing key consent target

2 January 2014

CQC inspection finds Tolworth Hospital missing key consent target

Inspectors from health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have found that Tolworth Hospital is failing in a key care target, relating to consent to care and treatment.

November 2013 inspections were conducted by the CQC at the Lilacs, Azaleas and Fuschias wards at the hospital and the ensuing report concluded that staff needed to ensure they acted according to the law in certain situations where patients lacked capacity to consent. Despite the key consent target being compromised, the hospital did pass in three other areas: safety, staffing and patients’ welfare.

Inspectors from the regulator found that after assessments of the Azaleas and Fuschias wards, there were indications of a “lack of understanding and application of the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005”.

Inspectors said: “We did not see evidence of any application of the Mental Capacity Act in use or as a methodology for recognising restrictions placed on individuals and considering if the threshold was being approached for assessment under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.”

Inspectors highlighted one particular case, where progress reports for a Fuschias patient were reviewed in two consecutive weeks; inspectors stated that they saw “identical generic statements stating the person lacked capacity to consent or make informed decisions about their care treatment.”

They added: “No additional evidence was recorded in relation to the decision specific functional test required.”

In light of the findings, South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, which runs the hospital, must submit a report to the CQC as a matter of urgency to explain how they are now meeting standards.

Most of the patients spoken to by inspectors commented positively on the care they received; the CQC has highlighted the issue of failing to meet the consent target whilst it has had a “moderate impact” seeking to ensure safeguards are put in place so that patient safety is not further compromised.

The CQC inspection tallied with similar findings in other hospitals where staff found it difficult to care for older patients who presented a combination of both dementia and mental health conditions, highlighting this as a “consistent theme” amongst previous inspections.

Mistreatment.com provides advice, guidance and support regarding matters of informed consent as well as dementia relevant to healthcare and patient safety. If you feel that you or a loved one may have not received appropriate care regarding informed consent at a hospital or trust, or with regards to treatment for dementia, Mistreatment.com has a number of specialist teams who can provide relevant advice so you know exactly where you stand and what your patient safety rights are.