MP holds urgent talks with bosses after damning report on Sheffield NHS centre for people with learning disabilities and autism

Sheffield MP Gill Furniss has held an urgent meeting with the boss of Sheffield’s NHS Firshill Rise Centre for people with learning disabilities and autism following a damning inspection.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 9:17 am

Ms Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, told of her concerns after a report by the Care Quality Commission revealed how its inspection in the spring found staff talking among themselves while ignoring patients’ needs, and failures to protect their patients from abuse.

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Inspectors visited the trust in April and May to look at the service, near Pitsmoor, which has seven beds and provides assessment and support to people with a learning disability or autistic people who are experiencing mental health needs and difficulties with behaviour.

Gill Furniss MP.

It was an unannounced inspection, which they were carrying out after safeguarding concerns were raised by trust staff and other health and social care providers.

She said: “I am extremely concerned and disappointed by the damning CQC report published today which rated NHS Sheffield Health and Social Care’s Assessment and Treatment service for people with learning disabilities and autism as inadequate.

"People should be able to trust that they, or their family members, will be well looked after in a safe environment by NHS services. On this occasion the trust has fallen short of those standards and has let vulnerable people down.”

She said she wanted to discuss urgent steps that must be taken to ensure those who need the service were treated with the care, dignity and respect they deserved.

Firshill Rise. Picture: Google

A spokesperson for Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust confirmed a helpful and productive meeting between Ms Furniss and the trust’s chief executive had now taken place.

Mike Hunter, medical director at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, has apologised for the failings, and pledged to ensure that Sheffield and South Yorkshire has an assessment and treatment unit that it can all be proud of.

He said: “We have now temporarily closed the unit to admissions to give us time to make the required changes including training for staff and thinking carefully about how we provide services in the future. The service users who are still in the unit have more activities and extra support to help them have a better experience in our care.”