"Mouse infestation on mental health ward"

About: Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care St Pancras Hospital

(as a relative),

I have a family member on the womens ward (Rosewood Unit) at The Huntley Centre, St Pancras Hospital.

It is absolutely infested with mice and has been for a very long time. The staff and managers know this but the problem remains. The mice are everywhere including the patients kitchen and bedrooms.

It is a locked ward so patients cant get away from the problem. It is very distressing to the patients there.

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Response from Karl Heidel, Head of Communications and Engagement, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

We realise a significant amount of time has passed since you posted your comment and we would like to sincerely apologise that we did respond to you in a timely manner.

We have since updated our process of responding to reviews posted on Patient Opinion and are now committed to making sure we respond to comments in a much more timely manner.

We are sorry to read about your relative’s experience on Rosewood Unit at the Huntley Centre. We agree that in the past mice have been a problem on Rosewood Unit and on the St Pancras site and that’s why fully eradicating this problem has been a challenging task for our Estates and Facilities department.

Since you raised your concerns a lot of structural work has been done in the ward garden. Paving was placed along the entrance to the ward where the mice were entering through pipes and also the pipes on the ward were filled in. The doors to patients bedrooms have had a “brush” fitted to stop them slipping under the frame. We have also appointed a new and more effective pest control company.

Hopefully this response goes some way in reassuring you and your relative that this matter is now under control. We also adopted a new protocol for staff to complete an incident form whenever they see a rodent, and by doing this our Infection Control team become aware of the problem very early on.

If you would like to speak to our Advice and Complaints team please contact us on 020 3317 3117 or email us at feedback@candi.nhs.uk

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Update posted by 1111 (a relative)

You are ONLY responding now because you have a CQC inspection due the end of May. (after failing a previous unannounced inspection following a patient death on the wards)

After then C&I will go back to not giving a damn about patients and service users.Ask the Ward Manager why she did not do anything.There was rampant mouse infestation in the storage room opposite the kitchen where a long stay patient's belongings were kept.Ask the charge nurse and all the nurses why they didnt do anything.

The ONLY reason C&I acted was because Camden Council did an inspection after a complaint was filed with Environmental Health and you failed on severe infestation grounds and reported to the Health Protection Agency.

I feel you fail many patients on every level on the wards, from care to basic hygiene ( as CQC highlighted - lets face it you have to have pretty low standards to fail a CQC inspection). Go and ask the staff and in particular the ward manager why they did not escalate this. You wont because like I say this response is ONLY because of the impending CQC inspection then you will return to the same old.

Here's a novel idea for a 'Communications and Engagement ' head - follow up with patients with surveys and questionnaires and discharge interviews - without nursing and clinical staff present - on their admission experience, from section to discharge.

Then you will really learn what goes on - but of course, harder to turn a blind eye then?

Response from Head of Communications and Engagement, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

Dear 1111

Thanks for your swift reply, more than can be said for our initial one to you, but as I say these sites are now being monitored by us, something which hadn't been happening before.

I am relatively new to the Trust and since I joined I have set in place processes to improve the Trust's communications including monitoring and responding to complaints as well as compliments that come via patient opinion sites. I really have no idea why your comments weren't responded to last year, and I can only assume that colleagues who previously held this role weren't monitoring the websites.

I understand your cynicism as to the timing of our response and the CQC visit, and I am sure I would think the same if I was in your shoes, but I can honestly assure you this is not the case. If I am to be honest I did deliberate whether to post the answers after the CQC came (due to the likely cynicism) but I decided that whenever we posted a response it was always going to be a bad time, because the responses have taken so long to come. Actually, given the chance, I would have preferred to have posted the responses months ago when I started contacting departments (and before I knew the CQC were coming) but it took a while for the organisation to collate the answers since there were a number of opinions which required responding to. If I had wanted to avoid cynicism I would have posted the responses after the CQC visited, as what difference would another month have made as you have already waited so long for a response. But I didn’t want to do that. I was frankly extremely disappointed that you have had to wait for so long for an answer and I thought at the very least, you deserved an answer as soon as I had it, so rightly or wrongly I posted it when I got an appropriate response.

You also mention that once the CQC have gone we will slip back into our old ways of not responding. That will definitely not happen, not on my watch. I am keen to engage with service users and relatives and ignoring them is not the right way of doing things. So, even though I can’t prove it in these responses, I hope over the coming months that you will see that my actions will speak far louder than words.

1111, you also make a few other points … regarding your novel idea for the Comms and Engagement Lead to consider questionnaires, I am pleased to say we are indeed doing this. We have brought in a new electronic system for patients to give instantaneous feedback. This can be monitored in real time and will further improve the services we provide. Clinicians and staff will not be present when patients fill in the feedback form, and the feedback will also be anonymous. We also ask for feedback as part of a randomised service user survey. These surveys are sent to patients’ homes, so once again neither clinicians nor staff will be present.

I am sorry to hear that you also think we fail our patients on care and basic hygiene. This is a very serious point and I will contact our relevant teams about this to gain further information. It does seem that you have specific examples in mind and I think it would be incredibly helpful, if you could spare the time for either myself or a colleague to have a conversation with you about some of these issues. I know the organisation tries its best to provide good quality services and if we aren’t doing it, then we need to do better. 1111, can you please contact feedback@candi.nhs.uk and one of us will get back in touch.

Thank you.

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