A WATCHDOG has demanded immediate improvements from a psychiatric hospital in Winchfield.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) uncovered “serious failings” after inspecting the 69-bed Vista Healthcare Independent Hospital, in Old Potbridge Road, in April this year.

It found that the provider, the Fairhome Care Group, had been failing to meet two Government regulations relating to safeguarding people from abuse and supporting staff with training and supervision.

The CQC has now issued two formal warning notices which have set a deadline for improvement, and stopped the hospital taking emergency or unplanned admissions.

The hospital was first asked to improve after an inspection in December last year.

In the latest report, the CQC said some patients told inspectors that they did not always feel safe when incidents of violence and challenging behaviour occurred, because they were not confident in the ability of staff.

Ian Biggs, deputy director of the CQC in the South, said: “The issues our inspectors identified at Vista Health-care Independent Hospital were serious, and required immediate action.

“Hospitals like this look after some of the most vulnerable people who use care services, and it is dreadful to hear that some patients at Vista Healthcare Independent Hospital did not feel safe in a place where they should have felt safe and supported.”

He added that inspectors had since returned to the hospital and noted that changes had been made, but said the watchdog will keep the hospital under close scrutiny.

The hospital responded to the criticism with a statement, which said: “We are extremely disappointed by the CQC’s statement today, which we consider to be disproportionate, emotive and does not reflect their two most recent positive inspections (May 14 and June 14, 2012).

“Our priority at all times is the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, who comprise some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is doubly disappointing that the CQC’s actions in issuing this statement may cause unnecessary distress for them.”

It said the watchdogs had previously found that patients were happy with the care they received.