POLICE are investigating allegations of abuse at a private mental health hospital where inspectors found CCTV footage of staff dragging, slapping and kicking a patient.

Essex Police said that on July 21 it received a report of an assault at Yew Tree Hospital, in Kirby-le-Soken, said to have happened two days earlier on July 19.

The force said in a statement: “As a result of this investigation, which remains ongoing, we have voluntarily interviewed two people, obtained witness statements and have reviewed CCTV footage of the incident.

“Since an inspection was carried out by the Care Quality Commission at Yew Tree Hospital, a number of other allegations were reported to us in August and these have also been referred to our officers.

“Those investigations also remain ongoing.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Closed - Cygnet Health Care said Yew Trees in Kirby-le-Soken was now closed following the inspection by the CQC.

Healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection of Cygnet Yew Trees in Kirby-le-Soken 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 they witnessed CCTV footage in which “staff drag, slap and kick a patient”.

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.

Cygnet Health Care said in a statement that Cygnet Yew Trees is now closed.

A spokeswoman said: “Following our investigation into this incident and a separate incident that had also been recorded on CCTV, involving a second patient, we suspended eight members of staff and two agency workers.

“These included people we believe witnessed the alleged incidents and failed to report them.

“Four have since been dismissed.”

The spokeswoman said that the examples of “poor care that we have reported to the CQC are not reflective of Cygnet as a whole”, adding: “We are appalled by the actions of this small minority of staff at Yew Trees.”