Hospital staff 'fed vulnerable patients pills in ice cream'

Nick Reilly
The findings were made at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital (Picture: Google Maps)

A hospital has been handed a formal warning notice after staff fed pills to patients by hiding them in ice cream.

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was slapped with the notice by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection found levels of “very poor care” for vulnerable patients.

At one point during their visit, inspectors were forced to intervene to aid a choking patient when two staff members failed to assist them.

The visit, which occurred in February, saw medical care being ranked as “inadequate”.

Inspectors watched on as antibiotics were covertly placed in ice cream without the patient’s consent, while others had medicines secretly mixed with their meals.

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The concerns also stretched into the maternity unit – with two babies being sent home despite having bruising of an “unknown origin”.

It was also discovered that two teenagers had absconded from a mental health unit which treated vulnerable young people alongside suicidal adults.

Now, The CQC has ordered the trust to send weekly progress updates after a follow-up inspection in May revealed that they had failed to sufficiently deal with the concern of inspectors.

Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief hospital inspector, said: ‘The quality of care on the medical wards was very poor – especially for the most vulnerable patients.

Responding to the findings, Mark Cubbon, the Chief Executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘The report makes for difficult reading and we have fallen short in some key areas, but I am confident that we can and will do better.’