Cheadle Royal Hospital, a mental health facility, has been instructed to urgently improve certain aspects of its care that were deemed unsafe. The hospital, which provides mental health services to adults and young individuals, received an overall rating of “requires improvement” from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection earlier this year. However, the safety rating was downgraded to inadequate. The hospital claims to have addressed the issues raised since the inspection.
The CQC conducted an unannounced inspection of the Priory Hospital Cheadle Royal in February and March. This inspection took place less than a year after the previous one in April 2022. The CQC issued a warning notice to Affinity Healthcare Limited, the organization responsible for running the hospital, emphasizing the need for swift improvements in physical health monitoring and medicines management.
The hospital faced criticism during the inquest of Beth Matthews, a health blogger who tragically took her own life at the hospital in March 2022. The jury concluded that her death was a result of suicide contributed to by neglect. Two other women, Lauren Bridges and Deseree Fitzpatrick, also lost their lives at the hospital in the preceding two months. The hospital maintains that these deaths were unrelated.
During the recent inspection, the CQC visited seven wards, including those dedicated to child and adolescent mental health, acute wards for working-age adults, psychiatric intensive care units, and specialist eating disorder services. The CQC report revealed concerns regarding the safe prescription, administration, and recording of medicines. Health screening and monitoring were not consistently carried out according to national guidelines, and record-keeping was found to be inconsistent and incomplete.
Alison Chilton, the CQC’s deputy director of operations in the north, highlighted a decline in the safety of care provided at the hospital. While some improvements had been made in staffing levels and the hospital’s culture since the previous inspection, there were still areas that required attention. Chilton raised concerns about the lack of a clear process for monitoring patients after rapid tranquilization and the hospital’s failure to consistently conduct blood clot screenings upon admission.
In response to the report, a hospital spokesperson stated that it was largely positive and that the hospital had already addressed the raised issues. They pointed out that the inspection had taken place more than seven months ago and highlighted the hospital’s updated medicines management procedures and increased staff participation in specialized training. The spokesperson also mentioned that the inspectors acknowledged the compassionate and individualized care provided by the hospital’s staff, with patients expressing positive feedback regarding their sense of safety within the services.
While the hospital’s overall rating by the CQC remains “requires improvement,” it maintains a “good” rating in the categories of caring, effective, and responsive.