News

NMC investigates allegations of patient abuse at mental health hospital

Regulator reviews concerns at Cygnet Yew Trees in Essex amid staff suspensions and dismissals
Cygnet Yew Trees hospital

Regulator reviews concerns at Cygnet Yew Trees in Essex amid staff suspensions and dismissals

Staff at a private mental health hospital have been reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after abuse of a patient was viewed on CCTV.

Managers at Cygnet Health Care, which runs Cygnet Yew Trees hospital in Kirby-le-Soken, Essex, monitored footage of an abusive incident in July.

They reported their concerns to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and contacted the NMC and Essex Police, along with launching their own investigation.

Inspectors report emotional and physical abuse of patients

In July and August the CQC carried out unannounced inspections of the 10-bed facility, which offer mental health care to women aged 18 and above who have autism or learning disabilities.

They reviewed 21 episodes of CCTV footage

Regulator reviews concerns at Cygnet Yew Trees in Essex amid staff suspensions and dismissals


Cygnet Yew Trees hospital in Essex. Picture: Google

Staff at a private mental health hospital have been reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after abuse of a patient was viewed on CCTV. 

Managers at Cygnet Health Care, which runs Cygnet Yew Trees hospital in Kirby-le-Soken, Essex, monitored footage of an abusive incident in July.

They reported their concerns to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and contacted the NMC and Essex Police, along with launching their own investigation.

Inspectors report ‘emotional and physical abuse’ of patients

In July and August the CQC carried out unannounced inspections of the 10-bed facility, which offer mental health care to women aged 18 and above who have autism or learning disabilities.

They reviewed 21 episodes of CCTV footage and in their report stated: ‘Some staff subjected patients to emotional and physical abuse.’

The report also highlights that staff ‘lacked the confidence and integrity’ to raise concerns about poor patient care. 

NMC is investigating possible regulatory action against staff


Emma Broadbent

NMC director of professional regulation Emma Broadbent said: ‘While we’re unable to discuss any potential or actual fitness to practise referrals until they reach a public hearing stage, we’re working with those involved, including Cygnet Health Care, to look into this further.

‘When serious concerns about professionals on our register are raised, we’ll always look carefully at these and decide whether any regulatory action needs to be taken.’

In a statement Cygnet Health Care confirmed the facility is now closed. 

Healthcare provider suspends ten workers 

After Cygnet’s own internal investigation, and after viewing a separate incident on CCTV involving a second patient, Cygnet suspended eight members of staff and two agency workers.

The suspensions included people Cygnet believed witnessed the alleged incidents and failed to report them.

Four have since been dismissed. 

Police say investigations into allegations remain ongoing

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: ‘We received a report on Tuesday 21 July about an assault at Yew Trees hospital in Kirby-le-Soken on Sunday 19 July.

‘As a result of this investigation, which remains ongoing, we have voluntarily interviewed two people, obtained witness statements and have reviewed CCTV footage of the incident.’

They added: ‘Since an inspection was carried out by the CQC at Yew Trees hospital, a number of other allegations were reported to us in August and these have also been referred to our officers. Those investigations also remain ongoing.’


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