A health and social care regulator has raised “serious concerns” about the standard of care at an independent mental health hospital.

The Potters Bar Clinic in Hertfordshire came under fire in a report published by the Care Quality Commission which found a litany of failings at the hospital following a “focused inspection” in February.

The hospital, which provides services to people requiring mental health care and is run by Elysium Healthcare Number Two Limited, showed “significant improvements” were necessary to ensure patient safety.

The CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals doctor Paul Lelliott said: “We were not assured patient safety was a priority. Managers did not ensure safeguarding procedures were adhered to. There were many occasions where staff had not reported incidents to external bodies, as required, and this included safeguarding concerns and serious patient injury.

“Inspectors found, for a high proportion of patients, staff had not undertaken an initial risk assessment within 48 hours of admission, as per the provider’s policy. In some instances, staff had not completed a risk assessment for several weeks or failed to update risk assessments following incidents. Also, staff did not identify many potential ligature anchor points when they assessed risks in the ward environment.

“We were concerned about staff numbers. Although the provider was able to staff wards at a minimum level they assessed as being safe, at times inspectors found there were too few staff to meet all the care needs of patients.

“We concluded the leadership and governance of the service did not always support the delivery of high quality, person-centred care.”

Mr Lelliott added: “What we found at Potters Bar Clinic did not represent the care people should expect to receive. The provider knows what it must do now. We will monitor the hospital closely and return to check its progress.”

Inspectors highlighted a further 14 areas where the hospital must improve that include “treating patients with dignity and respect”, “monitoring patients' physical health consistently” and that “ligature risk assessments are accurate”.

A CQC inspection in September 2017 found the hospital to be “Good overall” - this recent focused inspection does not alter that rating.