CQC rates Nottinghamshire mental health hospital Inadequate and places it in special measures

Published: 28 April 2021 Page last updated: 6 May 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a Nottinghamshire independent mental health service Inadequate and placed it in special measures, after it found people were being cared for in an unsanitary environment.

CQC inspected Priory Hospital Arnold, run by the Priory Group, in March. The hospital cares for adults with chronic mental health needs, including those sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and was previously rated Requires Improvement.

The inspection was prompted by information from anonymous sources who reported uncleanliness and gaps in patient safety measures.

Dr Kevin Cleary, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said:

“Standards of cleanliness at Priory Hospital Arnold were well below what people should be able to expect, and the unacceptable environment presented risks to both patients and staff.

“I am also concerned that although we had previously raised ligature risks with the hospital’s leaders, they had not comprehensively acted to protect patients at risk of self-harming.

“However, I am pleased that the service began addressing inspectors’ hygiene concerns before the inspection concluded, and staff should be commended for reducing the use of restraint.

“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 the hospital’s premises were unacceptably maintained and there was human waste, blood and dried food on floors and walls. Toilets were dirty, and a bag of urine – which had been left for several days – was found.

There were ligature risks in patient areas, and this danger was heightened by problems with the alarm system used to alert staff to emergencies.

Behind these issues was a lack of oversight from leaders, and a reliance on agency staff who did not know the service’s patients.

However, staff worked to de-escalate situations so that patients were only restrained or secluded as a last resort. Staff were also supported to ensure patients were safeguarded from the risk of abuse.

If there is insufficient improvement, CQC will use its enforcement powers further to protect patients from the risk of harm and hold the services’ leaders to account.

Following the inspection, CQC told the Priory Group that it must make several improvements at Priory Hospital Arnold, including:

  • Assessing and mitigating all ligature risks, and training all staff in ligature risk management
  • Always following infection control procedures Ensuring all required staff training is undertaken
  • Maintaining safe staffing levels
  • Ensuring all wards and equipment are clean and safely maintained
  • Ensuring audits and governance systems fully identify and assess risks to patients and staff, and drive improvements

Full details of the inspection are given in the report published here.


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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.