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Our response to a recent BBC Panorama documentary

In response to the BBC Panorama programme last year showing patients at another organisation (Edenfield Centre) being abused, all providers of mental health, learning disability and autism services to the NHS, were contacted by Claire Murdoch, NHS National Mental Health Director, and asked to provide assurances around the quality and safety issues raised in the programme.

A summary of our response, issued on 23 December 2022, follows:

The Priory leadership team was deeply troubled by the BBC Panorama documentary which showed appalling standards of care. As a provider of health and social care services – and a trusted NHS partner – we made sure we reflected on the systems and procedures we have in place and contemplated whether something like this could have happened at any of our sites or services.

We reflected on how we safeguard our care at Priory; for example, ensuring we have Freedom to Speak Up Guardians (FTSU) in place and that our staff are familiar with our FTSU and Whistle-blowing policies so that it is really clear how to raise concerns. We’ve made sure our complaints system is easy to navigate for service users and their families, and that service users have access to an independent advocacy service. All our incidents are logged via Datix and reported via our governance systems. We ensure independent experts attend our units and arrange Independent Care and Treatment Reviews and Care Education and Treatment reviews.

We are confident in our seclusion policy which details monitoring arrangements for patients, with escalation points depending on the number of days, which trigger a review. Our Long-Term Segregation Policy outlines detailed steps before long-terms segregation can commence. We make sure the process is overseen at a senior level and subject to independent review, as well as daily review on the ward and weekly review by the multi-disciplinary team.

We recognise how important it is to hear our service users’ voices and respond to their feedback. For this reason we have a community meeting forum on every ward most weeks and have service users taking part in our Patient Safety Forums and clinical governance meetings. Our Experts by Lived Experience, participate in service reviews and are involved in the development of our policies.  They are active participants in key meetings and deliver training. We also have a patient reference group with representatives from our different services, as well as regular feedback points and satisfaction surveys, which we take action and report on.

Similarly, we know how important it is to hear the voice of our carers who support our patients and residents – through surveys, forums, carer involvement self-assessment at site, carers attending meetings and training events, and interviews with carers to share learning. Through the Duty of Candour process, we strive to be transparent – and most importantly – to say sorry when needed.

Finally, monitoring the culture of care we provide at Priory is essential to ensuring we maintain high standards. We have a dedicated internal inspection team who undertake reviews of our services, and a programme of senior leader visits and quality walk round – including by our CEO. We also make sure there are visits out of hours, including weekends and evenings to monitor standards and senior leaders work at these times too to role model good practice.  We take samples of our CCTV footage from communal areas and we look at online reviews in response to any concerns raised, as well as monitoring data and feedback on our services through our monthly risk review meetings.

Patient safety is our absolute priority and always at the forefront of our mind, from Board-level through to our frontline services. We have a named Patient Safety Lead at each of our sites to help ensure we are delivering the safest services we can and to support embedding changes to our procedures. We promote a culture of reporting and learning from incidents so that we can minimise risk. When things go wrong, we take time to reflect, learn and change our approach – and that learning is shared widely with colleagues throughout our organisation.


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