A Darlington-based mental health hospital has been rated good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and is to exit special measures.
The Priory Hospital Middleton St George (pictured) in Darlington had been rated inadequate and placed in special measures in September.
However, when inspectors returned in May, they found that significant improvements had been made and the service has been moved out of special measures. The service is now rated as good overall and good for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
The hospital, run by Affinity Healthcare, is a 101-bed hospital that provides 24-hour support seven days a week for people aged 18 years and over with mental health problems, personality disorders or both.
What inspectors found
At this latest inspection, CQC inspectors found significant improvements across the hospital.
The regulator added it found some outstanding practice which had been developed by a member of staff in the form of a contact card for patients to use when they were out in the community.
The card consists on an emoji with key contact numbers. If a patient is lost or confused, they can use the card to contact the hospital or hand this over to a member of the public for them to help.
Commenting on the latest inspection, CQC head of hospital inspection for mental health Brian Cranna, said the regulator was pleased to find significant improvements had been made.
“The wards now have a good track record on safety with managers investigating incidents and sharing lessons learnt with the whole team and the wider service,” he said.
“When things did go wrong, staff apologised and gave patients honest information and good support.
“Most patients told us that staff treated them with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, and understood their individual needs. They also involved patients, families and carers in care decisions.
“This was a well-run service, and all members of the senior management team visited the wards regularly and patients and staff told us they felt senior managers were approachable.”
Delighted by the findings
In response to the inspection, Kelly Murray, hospital director at Priory Hospital Middleton St George, said: “I am proud of the hospital and delighted by the inspector’s 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, added: “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.”