Wednesday 28 February 2024
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Nottingham mental health hospital told to improve after ‘inadequate’ rating

A Nottinghamshire mental health hospital has again been given an ‘inadequate’ rating by healthcare inspectors who “remain concerned” about how safe it is for patients.

The Priory Hospital in Arnold was visited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in December 2021.

It rated the service ‘inadequate overall’ and kept it in ‘special measures’ – a status the CQC had first given it following a previous inspection in March 2021.

A spokesperson for the hospital said they were “disappointed” in the rating, which comes despite improvements being made in some areas since the March 2021 rating.

The inspectors’ report shows they found one patient was put at risk of “serious harm” after they tried to harm themselves with a plastic bag, which was an item restricted on the ward. Staff had not searched the patient on their return from a visit.

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They said the service “did not have a good track record on safety” and a patient had taken their own life in September 2020, which the coroner found was “contributed to by neglect”.

The latest CQC report, published on March 15 read: “The service did not always provide safe care. The ward environments were not always safe.

“The wards had enough nurses and doctors, but these were not always deployed effectively to keep patients safe.

“Staff did not always administer medicines at the time they were prescribed and monitor the effects on patient’s health.”

The hospital at Ramsdale Park, Calverton Road, is run by Priory Healthcare Limited and provides acute mental health wards for men and women, and psychiatric intensive care.

Patients reported to inspectors that they sometimes felt unsafe due to there not being enough staff on the ward.

Staffing issues also meant medicines were given later than prescribed and staff did not have time for debriefing after incidents.

However, some improvements were made since the last CQC visit. Inspectors said staff treated patients with “compassion and kindness”.

Craig Howarth, CQC’s head of hospital inspection for mental health and community services, said: “We remained concerned that procedures to minimise risks were not always followed which placed people at risk of harm.

“It was also concerning that despite rotas showing enough staff were available across the hospital, staff gave examples of when a lack of staffing had impacted on patient care and safety.

“Also, the multidisciplinary team met each morning to discuss risk with some staff from the wards however, it wasn’t clear how this information was passed to all ward staff. Despite the measures in place, the risks to patients were not reduced and there was evidence of incidents of harm to patients.”

He added that he was pleased the provider had made some progress in removing ligature risks – but some had still not been identified and removed by the provider at the time of the inspection.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the fact that five of the seven conditions placed on the hospital after the previous inspection have been removed “shows that significant progress has been made”.

They said: “We are working closely with the CQC and others to make the other necessary improvements. We have reassessed our staff deployments to ensure the right staff are available whenever they are required. We are continually improving our risk identification and assessment policies, which in the main are working well. The ligature point referred to in the report was the result of maintenance work taking place to improve the site and has subsequently been removed.

“A nurse now inspects all maintenance work after completion for potential impact to patent safety to prevent this happening again. The CQC note in their report that we have recruited the psychologists needed to provide a full range of treatments, they started the week of the inspection. We are pleased that the regulators recognised the improvements made to achieve a ‘good’ rating in the ‘caring’ category.”

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