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Troubled private mental health group sees marked improvements says CQC

Priory Group’s Ticehurst House has been rated as ‘good’ overall by the CQC, introducing major improvements following a previous inspection which found it to be in breach of care regulations and facing a multi-million pound fine for the death of a girl in its care.

The private mental health group pleaded guilty when it was charged under health and safety laws following a criminal investigation into the death of a 14-year girl with a history of suicide attempts.

Amy El-Keria was deemed high-risk but was left unsupervised by Priory staff, and earlier this month the court proposed an initial £2.4m fine for the offence.

Issues with Ticehurst House were raised in June last year when the CQC inspected the facility and found it to be in breach of regulations relating to health care and treatment, notification of incidents, and staffing.

After its latest inspection, however, the health inspectorate said Priory Ticehurst House had addressed the problems highlighted previously, and had successfully made a number of recommended improvements.

Inspectors at the CQC said that staff supervision and appropriate inductions were needed for the large amount of agency staff at the hospital, as well consistent information about the risk levels of individual youths, and clear, accurate, and up-to-date records were to be maintained.

Inspectors said the hospital provided safe care and staff were able to assess and manage risk well, minimising the use of restrictive practices and following good safeguarding practice.

The report said staff had developed holistic, informed, and recovery-oriented care plans and leaders had the skills, knowledge, and experience to perform their roles.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for hospitals and lead for mental health said: “Last year, CQC received troubling information about the safety of young people at Priory Ticehurst House.  We responded by undertaking an unannounced, focused inspection of the hospital’s child and adolescent mental health service in June 2018.

“This confirmed that the provider was not doing enough to ensure that the young people under their care were kept safe.  We told the Priory what it needed to do to rectify this. When we inspected again in November, we were satisfied that improvements had been made.”

He added: “Although the wards continued to rely heavily on agency staff, many of these agency staff worked at the hospital on a regular basis and so knew the patients and the ward routine.”



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