Staff at a private mental health hospital were caught on camera dragging, slapping and kicking a patient, inspectors have said.
Healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection of Cygnet Yew Trees in Kirby-le-Soken in Essex after provider Cygnet Health Care reported allegations of patient abuse.
Inspectors visited the 10-bed facility for women aged 18 and above who have a learning disability in July and August.
In their report, inspectors said: "Some staff subjected patients to emotional and physical abuse.
"We reviewed 21 episodes of closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage and witnessed staff drag, slap and kick a patient.
"We witnessed staff shove a patient.”
The report said that nine of the 21 CCTV clips showed "examples of staff abusing patients, acting inappropriately or delivering a poor standard of care".
Staff "lacked the confidence and integrity to raise concerns about poor patient care", the report said.
Managers suspended eight permanent members of staff from working at the hospital.
The report said Cygnet's leadership has also made referrals to the police and offered psychological support to patients who experienced abuse.
There were eight patients using the service at the time of the inspection, but there is now nobody there, the CQC said.
The facility is rated as inadequate by the CQC and is subject to enforcement action, which will be published as soon as legal restrictions allow.
Dr Kevin Cleary, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said that the latest inspection of Cygnet Yew Trees revealed “that people who lived there were being subjected not only to poor care, but to abuse.”
Cygnet Health Care said in a statement that Cygnet Yew Trees is now closed.
A spokesperson said: "The safety and wellbeing of the people in our care is our absolute priority, and we are appalled by the actions of this small minority of staff at Yew Trees.
"As soon as the issues came to light, our managers took steps to support the two patients involved, including to offer specialist support.
"We are also doing everything we can to assist the authorities to fully investigate what happened.
"The examples of poor care that we have reported to the CQC are not reflective of Cygnet as a whole and, as the CQC's final inspection acknowledged, other CCTV footage showed positive and caring behaviour towards patients at Yew Trees."
Essex Police has been approached for comment.