Finsbury Park drugs misuse centre put into special measures

Crouch Hill substance misuse service, The Haven, in Holly Park, Finsbury Park 

Crouch Hill substance misuse service, The Haven, in Holly Park, Finsbury Park - Credit: Google

A residential centre for recovering drug addicts in Finsbury Park has been put into special measures, after five whistleblowers came forward with concerns over safety and leadership there.

The Haven in Holly Park, Crouch Hill, was branded "inadequate" by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, who found its clients were being exposed to potential avoidable harm because staff weren't adequately assessing or managing risks.

In addition, safeguarding concerns were not always clearly recorded or investigated in line with the safeguarding policy of the registered charity, West London Mission (WLM), which runs the substance misuse service which can accommodate up to 26 men.

After one incident which saw one client assault another, staff didn't put in place measures to minimise the risk to other clients or make a safeguarding referral to the council, according to a report published this week.

A spokesperson for WLM said they were working closely with the CQC to undertake the necessary improvements in line with the ongoing inspection action plan.

Inspectors also found staff did not always safely manage medicines for clients, some of whom suffer from dysphagia, epilepsy, diabetes and mental health conditions. 

Three incidents were reviewed which saw clients' incorrectly administered their medicines or not receiving support so they took them as prescribed. 

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The referral process at the centre was not always managed safely, and inspectors found at least one client had been admitted to the service despite known risks which should have precluded them from being referred.

Nine out of 12 current and former staff that inspectors spoke to reported they felt unable to raise concerns openly because there was a "blame culture". 

On the plus side, inspectors found the clinic room and communal areas of the premises where clients received care were clean, well-furnished and well-maintained.

The centre's rating was downgraded since a previous inspection in 2019, when it was said to be in need of improvement.