You are here

CQC warns Penn Hospital it needs to do more to protect the safety and welfare of people

24 October 2011
Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

24 October 2011

Regulator demands improvement by Wolverhampton mental health hospital.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a formal warning to the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust saying it must make improvements to standards of care at Penn Hospital or face further action.  

The warning follows an unannounced visit by inspectors to the mental health hospital on 1 August to follow up on what progress had been made in relation to CQC’s findings at a previous visit.

Inspectors found the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust needed to make improvements in relation to the safety and suitability of premises and supporting workers.

  • Inspectors found that fire exit doors had been damaged and were no longer useable as they had been sealed off and not all fire doors were labelled in order to direct people to safety in the event of a fire.
  • The only communal areas were uncomfortably hot.
  • There were areas of the wards where it was difficult to see people.
  • There were other areas where there were potential ligature points that could be used to attach a rope to (or something similar) by those wanting to commit suicide.
  • Inspectors found a new member of staff had not yet received the required training but was working on the ward.
  • Some mandatory training, such as that in relation to infection control and fire safety, had not been provided.

Andrea Gordon, Regional Director of CQC in the East and West Midlands, said: "The law says these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.

“This warning sends a clear message that the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust needs to address this issue or face further consequences.

“Our inspectors will return in the near future and if we find that the required progress is not made we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service."

Penn Hospital provides care for people who are suffering from mental illnesses including those detained under the Mental Health Act 1984.


For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

Notes to editors

CQC will publish further details of the inspectors’ findings in a review of compliance on its website at a later date.

CQC has issued the warning notices to the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, requiring that action is taken to meet:

  • Regulation 15 (1) safety and suitability of premises and Regulation 23 (1) supporting workers Health and Social Care Act (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010. 

Inspectors will carry out a further unannounced visit to assess whether the necessary improvements have been made.

If improvements are not made, CQC has a range of enforcement powers which include restricting the services that a provider can offer or, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service. CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions or prosecute the provider for failing to meet essential standards. Any regulatory decision that CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.