FURIOUS parents and relatives of former patients at an independent hospital are to stage a protest after it was slammed by the Government’s health watchdog.

Earlier this year the Care Quality Commission (CQC) took “urgent action” against The Breightmet Centre for Autism after a whistleblower raised concerns about patient safety.

Campaigners are now planning to mount an action outside the Milnthorpe Road-based centre from 11am on Friday. The protest is being led by Joanne Murphy whose son 22-year-old Connor was a patient at the centre between 2016 and 2017.

Connor was admitted the hospital aged 18 and has been diagnosed with complex needs including severe autism, tourettes, hyperkinesis and sensory processing disorder.

Whilst in the centre’s care his mother says she found him in other people’s clothes and covered in faeces. He also lost three stones in weight and constantly asked for food during parental visits, Ms Murphy claims.

She added: “Connor lacks capacity, he was not able to verbalise, but he was not happy there and he wanted to come home.”

Eventually Ms Murphy managed to get Connor discharged from the hospital and he now receives 24 hour care at his home in Lower Broughton, Salford.

Ms Murphy added: “I have spoken to other mums who have their children in there and and they were saying the same things I was. And that’s why we are doing what we are doing. The main aim of the protest is that I do not want it to continue operating because it was not humane. You trust these people to look after your children and that was not happening.

“The conditions there were not acceptable and not what you would want your child living in.”

Earlier this month the CQC published the first of two reports following an inspection of the hospital in June. Inspectors rated the centre “Inadequate” in all areas in a report detailing a litany of concerns including a dirty and poorly maintained building, bins over flowing with syringes, patients being restrained and an incident in which a staff member was stabbed after a knife went missing from the kitchen.

Since July, management of the site has been taken over by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust who are working with its former operators ASC Healthcare.

A spokesperson for ASC Healthcare said: We are passionate about delivering high quality care to our service users and their safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.

"We are therefore disappointed by the CQC’s findings and are sorry for any distress caused to both our service users and their families.

“Our team is working hard to ensure improvements are made and we have written to all affected families and stakeholders inviting them to meet with us so we can work together to address any concerns they may have.

"We very much hope that anyone concerned will take us up on our offer to meet so we can understand and address any issues thus avoiding protests that will prove distressing to our Service Users and hard-working staff.”