A hospital has been given a ‘warning notice’ after inspectors found staff lacked training for dealing with older people with mental health problems.

This comes after members of the Care Quality Commission visited the Little Hulton based Woodlands Hospital on November 16 and 17.

Woodlands is an older adult inpatient facility which accept referrals from Bolton and Salford Older Adult Community Mental Health Teams or via Greater Manchester Mental Health Liaison Team based within A&E departments at Royal Bolton and Salford Royal Hospitals.

Though they were impressed by some of their findings, the inspectors found significant problems on wards for elderly people according to CQC deputy director of operations in the north Karen Knapton.

She said: “When we inspected the wards for older people with mental health problems, we found staff hadn’t completed all the mandatory training required for their role.

The Bolton News: The hospital has been told to improve care for older people with mental health difficultiesThe hospital has been told to improve care for older people with mental health difficulties (Image: PA)

“This included life support, moving and handling, prevention of violence and aggression, as well as safeguarding.

“The provider must ensure all staff are trained in these areas as it was affecting their ability to keep people safe.”

Following the inspection, the rating for older people’s wards at the Meadowsweet Lane hospital was dropped from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement.’

Ms Knapton said: “Inspectors found risk assessments, care plans and handover records weren’t completed appropriately for staff to have all the information required to safely look after people in their care.

"This was particularly concerning given the staffing pressures on the service and high use of temporary staff.

“Additionally, people were being cared for in ward environments which weren’t safe.

"There were issues with broken furniture and fittings, ligature risks not mitigated and alarm systems which didn’t always work which could put people at risk of harm.

"Leaders must address these issues as a matter of priority.

“Due to our findings, we have served the trust a warning notice so that they are clear about what changes must be made to improve patient care and safety at pace.

“We will continue to monitor the service and return to check on the progress.”

The hospital is part of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, with managers saying that they have worked to address the problems flagged by the inspectors.

A spokesperson said: “We welcome the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report into our Woodlands Hospital, following their inspection in November 2022. 

“We have taken serious note of the concerns they raised at the time and immediately addressed them.

“Some of the improvements have included appointing a Clinical Lead Nurse at Woodlands who is focused on the improvement of quality and safety outcomes for patients. 

“We are also addressing staffing levels to make sure they are not just safe, but are at the optimum levels needed to deliver the best care possible.

“Like many areas of the NHS we do rely on temporary staffing to support us during periods of staff sickness, vacancies or increased acuity. 

“However since this inspection, we have made sure that temporary staff have the same access to our electronic systems, policies, procedures, training and reporting arrangements as permanent GMMH staff members so that all patients will receive the same high standards of care from every team member.

“We have made improvements to the physical environment and equipment, and weekly checks are in place to make sure standards are maintained. 

“We have also addressed the medicines management issues by carrying out regular audits to ensure medicines are safely and securely stored.

“We will continue to work with the CQC to ensure we maintain these improvements. 

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“However we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the patients and carers whose standards of care fell below what they should have received. 

“Along with other areas of the Trust we are working very hard to make GMMH better for those we care for and who work for us. 

“We would like to thank everyone who is working with us as we continue on this improvement journey.”