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  • A mental health hospital near Darlington previously rated ‘inadequate’ has turned a corner during the pandemic, to be rated ‘good’ in all assessment categories by the Care Quality Commission
  • Inspectors say staff at Priory Hospital Middleton St George are “discreet, respectful, and responsive when caring for patients”
  • Hospital leaders also praised for being visible, approachable and having a “good understanding of the services”

A local mental health hospital which treats patients with complex conditions and challenging behaviours has been rated ‘good’ across the board by health and social care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), having previously been rated inadequate.

The five categories inspected are: “Are services safe?”, “effective”, “caring”, “responsive” and “well-led”.

Inspectors said Priory Hospital Middleton St George provided safe care, ward environments were safe and clean, and staff developed “recovery-oriented care plans, informed by a comprehensive assessment. They provided a range of treatments suitable to the needs of the patients and in line with national guidance about best practice”.

In its review of long-stay or rehabilitation mental health wards for adults, and acute wards and psychiatric intensive care units, inspectors said “wards were safe, clean, well equipped, well-furnished, well-maintained and fit for purpose”.

Inspectors described staff as being “discreet, respectful, and responsive when caring for patients”.

The services “met the needs of all patients who used the service – including those with a protected characteristic. Staff helped patients with communication, advocacy and cultural and spiritual support”.

Leaders were praised for having a “good understanding of the services they managed” and for being “visible in the service and approachable for patients and staff”.

Priory Hospital Middleton St George provides specialist inpatient care for adults with mental health needs, who present with complex needs and challenging behaviours. It is located in Middleton St George, near Darlington, in County Durham.

Previously, although the hospital was rated good or higher for being caring, effective and responsive, its lower ratings for being safe and well-led had resulted in an overall inadequate rating.

The hospital is managed by Priory Healthcare, part of The Priory Group, the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health. The Priory Group is in the process of integrating with MEDIAN, Germany’s highly respected and largest provider of rehabilitation, neurology and orthopaedic treatments.

Kelly Murray, Hospital Director at Priory Hospital Middleton St George, said: “I am proud of the hospital and delighted by the inspectors’ findings. We have worked really hard to ensure patient care is of the highest quality and we have received praise in many areas. The team - and their dedication and tireless work for the patients we serve – is fantastic.”

Paula Stanford, Chief Operating Officer at Priory Healthcare, said: “Kelly and her team have done magnificent things over recent months. Everyone there is doing an excellent job. The report vindicates their efforts and shows patients are benefitting from the care and support provided.”

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