You are here

Chief Inspector of Hospitals places Ash House, Warrington into special measures

26 January 2017
Maple House Rehabilitation Unit

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has published his findings on the standards of treatment and care provided by Ash House, an independent mental health hospital in Warrington, following a CQC inspection in November last year.  

CQC has rated Ash House as Inadequate and places them into special measures.

Ash House is a service for adults with complex mental health and personality disorders who may require locked rehabilitation, open rehabilitation, residential step down and community support services. At the time of this inspection there were nine people resident at the unit.

CQC brought forward this planned comprehensive inspection after receiving information from whistleblowers raising concerns about the safety and wellbeing of people using services at Ash House.

Findings from the inspection have been published on this website. 

Some of CQC’s findings included:

  • The buildings had blind spots that put people using the service and staff at risk from harm.
  • The service did not have an environmental ligature risk assessment in place.
  • Risk assessments and management plans were not sufficiently detailed; meaning staff did not have an adequate knowledge of patient risk.
  • Staff did not always complete safeguarding referrals to the local authority.
  • Care plans were poor, with no long term goals or methods for achieving such goals.
  • Staff handovers between nurses were not effective in ensuring key information regarding individual patients was shared.
  • The Mental Health Act was not adequately monitored, and no training was in place. Patients detained under the Mental Health Act did not have the relevant documentation in place in files or to hand. Patients were not read their rights whilst under detention, and advocacy services were not being accessed.
  • There was no information anywhere in the service outlining a complaint procedure.
  • Admission criteria to the service was not clear, leading to the service admitting patients with complex physical and mental health needs, but staff were not adequately trained to meet those needs.

The CQC is working closely with Warrington CCG to ensure the safety of people using this service whilst considering enforcement options.


For further information, please contact CQC Regional Communications Officer Kerri James by email at or by phone on 07464 92 9966.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

There are six other independent mental health services that are in special measures:

Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led? You can find out more about CQC’s approach to inspection on our website at


Registered providers of health and social care services are required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:

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.