Beds, Herts & Bucks

High Wycombe Priory mental health hospital 'inadequate'

Mental health hospital Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Priory in High Wycombe cares for seven teenagers with mental health issues

Inspectors have rated a mental health hospital for teenagers as inadequate - days before it is set to close.

The Priory Hospital in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, opened in April and cares for seven 10 to 17-year-olds with learning difficulties.

A team from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found patients had been kept in locked rooms, and one child had swallowed part of a radiator grille.

The hospital confirmed patients would be transferred to other units.

The unit is part of the Priory Group, which describes itself as "the largest provider of child and adolescent inpatient services to the NHS".

Deprived of independence

During an unannounced inspection, the CQC found staff had not been trained to look after children with complex needs.

The patients had not been given enough exercise, and one young person had "managed to swallow objects such as screws, wire and a part of a radiator grille", the report said.

Inspectors also found some girls being kept in locked rooms, which meant they were deprived of their independence as they could not go to the toilet or get a drink.

The report said there had been four incidents where nurses had administered the wrong dose of medication.

Less than half of the staff had completed most of the required mandatory training courses, it said, and only a third of staff had completed training in the Mental Health Act.

A Priory spokeswoman said it would work with the NHS to identify suitable placements for the children at units "with more experienced staff".

A reliance on agency staff had "led to a number of instances where established operational policies and practices have not been adhered to which has resulted in the 'unacceptable' inspection rating," she said.

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