CQC rates Leicestershire hospital inadequate and places it in special measures

Published: 10 June 2021 Page last updated: 10 June 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a specialist Leicestershire hospital inadequate and placed it in special measures, after it found poor leadership had compromised patient safety.

CQC inspected Burton Park, run by the Priory Group, in March, prompted by concerning information about the care being delivered.

The 50-bed hospital cares for people needing neurobehavioral rehabilitation – including those living with a brain injury or progressive neurological condition, and people who have had a stroke.

The service was previously rated requires improvement. In addition to now being rated inadequate and placed in special measures, it has received three CQC warning notices following the latest inspection

 Jenny Wilkes, CQC head of inspection for mental health and community services, said:

“Care at Burton Park did not meet standards people should be able expect because it suffered from poor leadership.

“Staff were insufficiently supervised, and managers failed to understand the issues the service faced. This, along with a lack of respect shown by leaders towards staff, created a negative culture where policies to ensure people’s safety were not successfully implemented or monitored.

“The lack of oversight led to issues with infection prevention and control, including to manage COVID-19, and a failure to act quickly when safeguarding issues were raised. Leaders also failed to use staff and patient insight to identify problems and drive improvement.

“However, the hospital’s facilities were well equipped and maintained. Staff followed best practice to prevent and manage challenging behaviour, and work was underway to improve compliance with staff training targets – including for safeguarding.

“We are monitoring the hospital closely and will take further action to protect people if we are not assured care is being delivered safely.”

Inspectors found Burton Park’s leaders were detached, defensive and failed to treat staff with respect. This impaired the quality and safety of care patients received.

Staff did not always use face masks and hand sanitiser appropriately to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and they did not always wash their hands when handling food. Gaps in cleaning records were also identified.

Managers failed to act quickly when allegations of abuse, including physical abuse from staff towards patients, were raised and measures to protect people at risk of self-harming were not robust. These problems became sustained because the service did not embed learnings following incidents.

However, staff had easy access to clinical information. Guidance also was available advising staff how to escalate concerns about bullying and harassment, and patients’ physical health needs and dietary requirements were met.

As the service is in special measures, it will be inspected again within six months. If there is insufficient improvement, CQC will use its enforcement powers further to protect patients from the risk of harm and hold the service’s leaders to account. Following the inspection, CQC told the Priory Group that it must make several improvements at Burton Park, including:

  • Following COVID-19 infection prevention and control principles and food hygiene standards
  • Regularly reviewing risk assessments
  • Ensuring enough permanent staff
  • Embedding robust procedures, including to learn following incidents
  • Acting immediately following information regarding abuse
  • Ensuring staff treat patients with dignity and respect
  • Reviewing the culture to ensure high-quality patient care
  • Ensuring staff receive regular supervision
  • Keeping patient records secure and confidential
  • Undertaking regular reviews of patient observations.

Full details of the inspection are given in the report published on our website.

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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.