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Response to the BBC report 26 April 2023

Rebekah Cresswell - Priory CEO

Rebekah Cresswell, Priory CEO said: “I was disappointed and concerned to see the BBC news report yesterday which presented a distorted picture of Priory. Many of the claims made by the reporter were misleading, and I want to reassure every patient, resident and user of our services – and their families – that their safety and wellbeing is always our priority. I am proud to work with some of the most committed professional people who care deeply about the care and support they provide.

I know that we are constantly striving to give the best to our patients and residents, often at times of acute personal crisis for them. So it is disappointing when the media fails to reflect the difference we are making and the context in which we are operating. We work in partnership with the NHS to place patients in the most clinically appropriate environment for their needs and with rising levels of acuity in mental health, we provide vital capacity and expertise. Our local hospital teams make all admission decisions; they will only admit patients where it is clinically appropriate and safe to do so and that is the same in our social care services.

While attracting and retaining a stable workforce is a huge challenge for the whole of the health and social care sector, since I became CEO in November 2021, we have seen a significant reduction in staff turnover (down 8.6% since March 2022) with a reducing trajectory. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve increased our permanent headcount by 726 more nurses and healthcare assistants and support workers, who are all paid at least the Real Living Wage, alongside our nurses whose pay has increased by on average 14% since January 2020. When the CQC conducted a well-led assessment of Priory in late 2022, they found a committed and motivated leadership and described how many of our colleagues felt ‘proud to work here’. They noted a change in the culture, which is backed up by our recent colleague engagement survey results last month, where our engagement score increased by 11 percentage points since our last survey in 2021. This engagement score is made up of their level of commitment, sense of purpose and the connection our colleagues experience with their work at Priory, including the degree to which they feel valued, supported and respected by their colleagues and managers.

What really matters to me – and to all at Priory – is helping people to live their lives as fully and independently as possible. I receive many letters and messages from people who tell me that Priory has saved a life, or been a lifeline for a family with a loved one with a learning disability or complex autism. In the last two years alone, we have successfully supported 66 people with complex autism to move from a hospital setting to living in the community. The overwhelming majority of our 300+ sites are rated ‘good’ compliant or better by our regulators. We are a learning organisation and will always take the opportunity to improve where we need to.


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