A mental health hospital in Tottenham has failed to meet minimum standards of patient care and welfare, according to an independent report.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said St Ann’s Hospital, in St Ann’s Road, needed to take action to protect the welfare of people who are admitted.
The report into the hospital, which is run by the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, was published last month.
During the inspection it was discovered that seclusion rooms – where patients are put when they are a risk to others – were being used as extra bed space.
In the report, inspectors said: “One member of staff on Haringey Assessment Ward told us there were not enough beds for the number of patients needing to be admitted.
“They told us the trust was using seclusion rooms to admit patients into temporarily until beds were found.”
Inspectors found that seclusion rooms, which are unfurnished except for a mattress, had been used as patient bedrooms for 29 nights between the May 6 and June 24 of this year.
In some instances patients sleeping in the rooms had to be woken up so dangerous patients could be put in isolation.
The report found the practice “affected the dignity and wellbeing” of people who used the service.
A member of staff at the hospital also told inspectors that when someone who does not need to be isolated is in the seclusion room there is supposed to be an open door policy.
However inspectors found that the door is locked “due to risk” and patients must ask to leave.
Anita Hudson, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind in Haringey, said it was shocking that some of most vulnerable people in society were being treated in this way.
She went on to criticise the trust’s plans for the redevelopment for the hospital which will see the number of bedrooms reduced from 50 to around 35.
Ms Hudson said: “The number of people who suffer from mental illness is set to double in next 20 years.
“They don’t have enough beds for the patients they have now so how can they hope to cope when they reduce the number of beds available.
“It’s like me getting married and planning to have kids but at the same time I move into a one-bedroom house which I plan to live in for the next ten years.”
The CQC ordered the trust to provide a report to outlining what improvement will be made to address the situation by September 11.
A spokesman for the mental health trust said the care and welfare of patients is a top priority and it has taken immediate action to address the concerns raised.
She said: “Because of an exceptionally high demand for inpatient beds which is being experienced nationally, we have occasionally had to use alternatives for emergency out of hours admissions.
“This is an exceptional and temporary measure as the patient is moved as soon as we have the capacity on one of our wards.
“We continue to work with our service users to respond to their individual needs and to ensure they have access to high quality treatment.”