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‘TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE’: Mental health hospital in Arnold warned it could be forced to close if improvements are not made

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A mental health hospital based near Arnold has again been ordered to improve after a visit from the healthcare watchdog, which said its standards of care were “totally unacceptable”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection at the ‘inadequate’-rated Priory Hospital Arnold in Nottingham in January.

They said there has not been “sufficient improvement to the safety of patients” since a previous inspection in August 2022.

Priory Hospital Arnold
PICTURED: Priory Hospital Arnold (IMAGE: Google)

The commission’s latest report says a patient died on December 28 after leaving the hospital. Another patient was injured after getting onto the hospital roof on January 15.

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Partnerships in Care Limited, which runs the private service, have been told to make further improvements.

The hospital required 32 nurses but 17 of these posts were vacant – equating to a 53 per cent vacancy.

The service required 96 support workers and 48 of these posts were vacant, equating to a 50 per cent vacancy.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the service “has improved” since the inspection in January and recruited to 33 posts.

In the most recent inspection, the CQC visited the Bestwood and Newstead wards to look at how safe and well-led the hospital is.

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Priory Hospital Arnold provides two acute mental health wards on Newstead and Bestwood wards. It also has a psychiatric intensive care unit on Rufford and Clumber wards.

There have been 20 previous CQC inspections of the hospital.

The report stated: “This was due to concerns raised following incidents that had occurred. This included the death of someone following a period of leave without permission and another person who left the hospital without permission via the roof and sustained an injury.

“Following this recent inspection, the provider remained in breach of regulations in relation to staff training, restrictive practice, ineffective information systems and manging items which may present a risk to people.

“Due to the focused nature of this inspection, the hospital was not re-rated, therefore the previous rating of inadequate remains overall and for being safe and well-led. Effective, caring and responsive weren’t included in this inspection and remain rated as requires improvement.

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“If insufficient improvements are made, CQC will not hesitate to take further action which could include closing the service.”

The report, published on June 23, said that staff on the wards were not aware of the missing persons policy.

It did not have the right number of gender specific staff to manage the risks and care needs of females.

There were also a number of new staff on the ward and a “lack of experienced staff who knew people well”. There was also a high number of agency staff on the wards.

Inspectors said staff had not received sufficient training to care for people safely.

But the report added that leaders were “visible and approachable” and people had one-to-one sessions with a nurse.

Greg Rielly, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “The standard of care at Priory Hospital Arnold is totally unacceptable. The leaders in this service must address the issues identified as a matter of urgency so people receive the safe care and treatment they deserve.

“The hospital will remain in special measures and we will be keeping it under close review.

“We will not hesitate to take further action if we don’t see significant improvement. Even if this results in the CQC taking action which results in the closure of the hospital.”

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “This report relates to an unrated inspection six months ago, which was narrowly focused on two wards. We are pleased that the service has improved since then. At the time of the inspection in January, a new hospital director had been appointed to drive forward improvements and these are taking effect.

“The hospital has successfully increased staffing levels by 9 nurses and 24 healthcare assistants, despite a nationwide shortage.  We have a strong focus on record-keeping, risk assessment and specialist training, and ensure our staff are fully aware of policies and procedures, particularly in the areas of banned/restricted items and response to missing persons.  We are committed to making the improvements necessary and are looking for an improved rating at our next inspection.”

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