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Regulator demands immediate improvement at hospital in Darlington

27 February 2013
The Priory Hospital Middleton St George
Affinity Healthcare Limited
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

27 February 2013

The Care Quality Commission has issued a formal warning to Affinity Healthcare Limited, Registered Provider of The Priory Hospital Middleton St George, stating that they must make urgent improvements to standards of care or face further action.

The warning follows an unannounced visit by inspectors to the hospital in Darlington, County Durham on 14 January 2012 in response to concerns.

The Priory Hospital Middleton St George is an independent mental health hospital that provides inpatient treatment for up to 90 patients some of whom are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

On inspection, it was found that the hospital needed to make improvements to staff recruitment procedures.

Inspectors found that checks carried out as part of the hospitals staff recruitment processes were not sufficiently robust.

A review of staff personnel files and revealed that there were gaps in employment history which had not been verified, and occasions where suitable references had not been obtained prior to staff commencing work.

Since issuing this warning notice, CQC inspectors have received an action plan from the hospital detailing how standards will improve and we will carry out another inspection to check progress.

Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s director in the North said:

"The law sets out national standards that everyone who uses services should expect to receive. Providers have a duty to ensure they meet these standards.

“This warning sends a clear and public message that Affinity Healthcare Limited needs to address these issues as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.

“Our inspectors will return to the hospital in the near future and if we find that the provider is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to ensure patients are receiving the service they are entitled to expect.”


For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

Notes to editors

CQC has issued a warning notice to Affinity Healthcare Limited requiring action to meet:

  • Regulation 21, Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010, Requirements relating to workers

A deadline has been given for improvement. If this deadline is not met, CQC has a range of enforcement powers, which include restricting the services that a provider can offer, or, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service. CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions or prosecute the provider for failing to meet essential standards. Any regulatory decision that CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.