The Priority Group has announced that it will close a High Wycombe Adolescent Hospital after the Health and Care Inspectorate considers it inadequate.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors noted that the Buckinghamshire facility, which provides learning disabilities and / or autism for children between the ages of 13 and 17, is "insufficiently cared for to care for young people with complex needs".

The Priory Group, known for its London clinic, which is a sanctuary for celebrities with addiction problems, said the High Wycombe Hospital would close this weekend and the patients would be relocated to other units.

The results of the inspection carried out in December last year included:

  • A young person with complex needs has managed to swallow things like screws, wire and a part of a radiator grille.

  • An employee of the agency allegedly attacked a patient.

  • Teenagers had no access to psychological therapies.

  • The layout of the station was confusing and noisy, unsuitable for young people with autism.

Karen Bennett-Wilson, Head of Hospital Inspection at the CQC, said, "Our inspection has identified a number of major patient safety and quality of care issues that require immediate attention.

"There was some concern that some staff in a specialist department could not demonstrate the required knowledge or expertise needed to care for young people with learning disabilities or autism."

The Priory Group is privately owned – bought by the US company Arcadia Healthcare for £ 1.3bn in 2016 – but 85% of its revenue comes from the public sector.

In 2016, the NHS was asked to terminate its contracts with the Priority Group following a series of child deaths. In November 2012, Amy El-Keria, who had suicide attempts in the past, died in the hospital of the Ticehurst House Priory in East Sussex. A 2016 panel of investigators found that neglect contributed to their accidental death, and the company pleaded guilty to being prosecuted under health and safety regulations.

Also in 2016, the Priory and Solent NHS Trust recognized liability for the death of 15-year-old George Werb during his home leave in 2013. George had been a patient at the Priory Hospital in Southampton. The examining magistrate said his assessment was "incomplete, inaccurate and does not reflect the actual situation."

In 2015, when investigating the death of 17-year-old Sara Green, who died in the Royal Priory in Cheadle last year, the coroner said she was safer at home.

A Priory spokesman said that changes had been made to the leadership of the Priory High Wycombe Hospital, but efforts to recruit seasoned personnel had not progressed as quickly as expected.

"Accordingly, we have decided that it is in the best interest of the seven young people of High Wycombe to work with the NHS to find suitable alternative places for them, including in other established priory units with more experienced staff," the spokesman said.

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