Staff at the controversial Carseview Centre have been criticised after they removed toilet seats from patients’ rooms – because of the risk of them being used as ligatures.
Three of the wards at the centre were visited by inspectors from the Mental Welfare commission for Scotland (MWC) in November to assess their quality of care.
While the visitors’ findings were largely positive, they shared some concerns about the environments that patients were staying in.
In its report published today, the MWC said it had learned loo seats had been removed from en-suites because of “potential ligature risks”, and has told managers to do more to protect patients’ dignity and privacy.
It added: “Several patients told us that they feel uncomfortable with the lack of privacy because toilet doors have been removed.
“We were also told by several patients that toilet seats were being removed from en-suite bathrooms.
“We were told that a number of changes had been made…following assessments of potential ligature risks. Managers should ensure that any corrective work to the ward environment to address potential ligature risks maintains the dignity and privacy of patients.”
Environment issues aside, patients told the inspectors that they were largely happy with the care they were receiving from staff.
However, the MWC said it was “concerned” over the use of more restrictive intensive care beds for lower-risk patients – because more appropriate beds weren’t available.
The NHS has three months to respond to the report, but Perth and Kinross health and Social care Partnership, which runs mental health services across tayside on its behalf, has welcomed the report.
A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We acknowledge the recommendations made in the report and are currently developing an improvement plan to address these.
“We welcome the report following the Mental Welfare Commission’s visit to the wards 1 and 2 and the Mulberry Unit in Carseview Centre.
“It is very encouraging to hear that patients gave positive feedback about their treatment in the wards and about their interaction with staff.
“Patients also gave feedback to say they found the nursing staff supportive and caring and felt they were treated with respect in the hospital.
“Occasional in periods of high clinical demand, patients will require to be admitted to the intensive psychiatric care unit because beds are unavailable in the admission wards.
On those occasions, patients receive the same level of care that is given within the ward area.
“We take the health, safety and welfare of patients very seriously and we are committed to providing a safe environment during their care.
“Our ward environments are assessed to ensure patient safety and minimise risk.
“As part of the ongoing refurbishment programme in Carseview, we are working closely with patients and staff to get feedback and share ideas for new ward layouts, furniture and designs.”
Carseview is under intense scrutiny following a number of deaths linked to the unit.
An independent inquiry chaired by ex-prison inspector David Strang is under way.