Care Quality Commission (CQC) publishes report on Huntercombe Hospital in Norwich

Published: 16 February 2018 Page last updated: 3 November 2022

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has published a report on Huntercombe Hospital in Norwich following an urgent inspection.

CQC carried out its inspection over eight days in November and December last year as result of concerns about how the service was being run.

Huntercombe Hospital in Buxton, Norwich, was a low secure and psychiatric intensive care facility which provided inpatient child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for people aged between five and 18. The service provides care to people with a range of mental health disorders and who are detained under the Mental Health Act.

CQC found significant concerns during its inspection and took immediate action to protect those using the service, including enforcement action to remove the registration for Huntercombe Hospital, Norwich. 

The Huntercombe Group then closed the service and all the young people using the service were found alternative care by NHS England.

Deputy Chief Inspector for Hospitals (lead for mental health), Paul Lelliott, said:

“Our inspection found a service that was not effectively managing risks to the young people in its care or protecting them from carrying out acts of self-harm or aggression. Staff failed to manage the safety of the hospital’s physical environment too and, as a result, young people had access to dangerous items which they could harm themselves with. Although staff reacted to incidents on the wards, they did not take action to prevent incidents occurring or escalating."

“Additionally the hospital had not learned lessons from serious incidents or taken effective action to reduce the risks of similar events happening again. Staff failed to report some incidents and managers did not review or investigate all serious incidents robustly, openly and transparently. When the provider did investigate an incident, it did not take effective action and, despite giving repeated assurances that it had put measures in place, serious incidents of a similar nature continued to happen."

“There were insufficient numbers of skilled and experienced staff on wards to meet the needs of patients, we found staff did not always treat the young people with dignity and respect and the ward environment was unclean."

“This is why, following our inspection, we took urgent action to restrict the service and protect the young people using it. The provider subsequently decided it would close the service and all those using it were found suitable alternative care. Throughout this time we worked closely with NHS England and The Huntercombe Group with regard to the welfare of the young people who needed support and care. CQC also then took action to ensure the service could no longer be provided at this location."

“CQC is committed to ensuring people get the care they should be able to expect. We will not hesitate to take action where care falls short of those standards.”

Full details of CQC’s findings can be found in the report which is available on our website.


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Our inspection found a service that was not effectively managing risks to the young people in its care

Paul Lelliott, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health)

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.