A HIGHLY criticised company whose ‘inadequate’ mental health hospital was forced to close is under investigation following a death at the care home it runs on the same site.

Cygnet Health Care is the subject of an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following the death at the Oaklands care home on Anick Road, Hexham. Its hospital at Chesterholme has closed temporarily after its safety and leadership were rated as inadequate.

Oaklands was inspected by the CQC in October after a person using the service died – an incident which raised concerns about the ‘management of choking’.

However, no evidence that people were at risk or harm from choking was found during the inspection.

The care home provides nursing care for up to 15 people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions or autism.

In its report published last week, the health regulator confirmed it was investigating the death, details of which could be passed on to the police.

It also said a number of recent adverse events had impacted upon the safety and smooth running of the home, but action was being taken to ensure people were safe.

The care home was last inspected in July 2019 where it was rated as ‘requires improvement’ after two breaches of regulations relating to safeguarding people from abuse, and improper treatment and good governance were identified. The home was no longer in breach of these regulations at the time of the October inspection.

A spokeswoman from Cygnet said: “Our staff were deeply saddened by the death of one of our residents last year and our sincere sympathies are with the family. The service is rated good for being caring and responsive and we are committed to working in partnership with the CQC which notes improvements have been, and continue to be, made.”

A quality of care inspection report into Cygnet, published by the CQC, said that care and treatment did not always include best practice and there was a high use of physical restraint and seclusion across services, compared to other mental health providers.