Published: 09:04, 17 November 2020
| Updated: 13:13, 17 November 2020
A health watchdog has told a hospital it must make urgent improvements to its services for people with learning disabilities.
The Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, in Bromley, had not made sufficient progress since its last inspection between August 21 and September 7, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and now hospital bosses have decided to close the unit for a year.
The quality of care and treatment for a vulnerable group of patients on the Keston Unit remained unsafe and compromised people's privacy and dignity, the report said.
Following this inspection, the Priory Hospital Hayes Grove made the decision to close the Keston Unit by the end of the year.
CQC carried out a focused inspection of the unit as a result of concerns raised regarding the safety, quality and leadership of the services provided.
The wards for people with a learning disability or autism were previously inspected in January 2020, when the service was rated inadequate.
As a result, CQC placed a condition on the provider's registration, preventing it from admitting patients to the Keston Unit until improvements had been made. This condition remains in place.
Following the latest inspection, CQC took further immediate enforcement action and imposed additional conditions on the provider.
CQC's head of hospital inspection, London, Helen Rawlings, said: "During the inspection, we found several serious concerns relating to the leadership of the unit which resulted in the need for us to use our legal powers to take immediate enforcement action.
"As a result, we placed the service into special measures, insisting that the hospital undertake an urgent review of the sexual safety of patients, make urgent changes regarding the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in patient bedrooms and urgent improvements regarding the provision of therapeutic activity to aid patients in their recovery.
"During the inspection, we found several serious concerns"
"Following our inspection, the provider has announced that it has taken the decision to close the Keston Unit."
Inspectors reported that the service did not always provide safe care and that sexual safety risks were not adequately identified or managed.
In addition, the provider did not always respect the privacy of patients as it used CCTV in patient bedrooms without their consent.
CQC also found that patients did not have sufficient access to therapeutic activities to support them in developing their daily living skills, even though most patients were shortly due to be discharged to community settings.
The inspections also identified concerns regarding staff handover meetings which meant there was a serious risk of medication errors.
Additionally, the hospital did not take sufficient measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as some staff were not wearing their face coverings correctly.
A spokesperson from the hospital said: "Despite sustained improvements in many areas since the inspection, we have decided to close Keston Unit at the end of the year.
"We took this decision after conducting an additional internal inspection, which concluded that the physical environment would not support the delivery of high quality care going forward.
"We are supporting each individual in our care with their transition to a new service, and the hospital remains rated 'good' overall.
"We have a comprehensive Covid-19 policy in place, with regular checks to ensure it is fully implemented. The safety of those in our care will always be our primary concern."
Full details of the inspection are given in the report published online.