CQC tells Priory Hospital Burgess Hill that it must urgently improve the quality of some services

Published: 29 July 2021 Page last updated: 29 July 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Priory Hospital Burgess Hill that it must make urgent improvements to the quality of its female specialist personality disorder ward (Amy Johnson ward) and the forensic low secure inpatient ward (Michael Shepherd ward).

Inspectors visited both wards in May after concerning information about patient safety was reported to CQC.

Following the inspection, CQC wrote to the Priory Hospital Burgess Hill highlighting serious concerns surrounding patient safety on both wards. CQC required the hospital to submit information explaining how it would make immediate improvements. The letter also explained that if the hospital could not provide assurance about how it would make the urgent improvements needed, CQC would take action to ensure that improvements were made.

Priory Hospital Burgess Hill provided an action plan and decided to close two hospital wards, the female psychiatric intensive care and female personality disorder wards, in order to ensure it could staff the two remaining wards safely.

As CQC felt the current overall rating of good was not reflective of the care that was being delivered at the hospital, the rating of good has been suspended until a full inspection can take place.

Karen Bennett-Wilson, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said:

“Following our inspection of Priory Hospital Burgess Hill, we were concerned about the quality of care, so we issued the hospital with a letter demanding immediate improvements be put in place, or we would impose conditions upon them to restrict their activity.

“We found a number of concerns relating to patient safety on both the Amy Johnson and Michael Shepherd wards and we told the Priory Hospital Burgess Hill it must make urgent improvements. This includes having appropriate systems in place that support staff to keep patients safe.

“Following the inspection, we gave the provider feedback on our findings, highlighting concerns which required an urgent response. The management team knows what it must do to improve its services. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the hospital closely and will not hesitate to take action if Priory Hospital Burgess Hill fails to make the necessary improvements.”

Inspectors found:

  • The wards inspected did not have enough experienced and skilled staff to manage all the risks on the wards
  • Staff were not consistently undertaking risk assessments of all patients’ identified risks and they did not clearly identify the severity of these risks
  • The levels of restrictive practices on Amy Johnson ward were high. Staff did not achieve the right balance between maintaining safety and providing the least restrictive environment possible in order to facilitate patients’ recovery
  • Staff did not always have access to patients’ care plans and risk assessments due to frequent problems with the electronic system. Staff that did not regularly work at the hospital did not have log in details, so they could not easily access patient information
  • The service did not always capture and act on patient feedback. There was no evidence or clear process of how incidents were recorded, investigated and learning shared. This meant that the provider did not always know whether staff were delivering safe care that met individual needs.

However, inspectors also found:

Staff provided a range of treatments such as dialectical behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy suitable to the needs of the patients cared for in the Amy Johnson rehabilitation ward

Leaders had the skills, knowledge and experience to perform their roles, were visible in the service and approachable for patients and staff.

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.