Priory hospital is downgraded to ‘inadequate’ as bereaved father demands it be shut down

·2-min read
The Priory Hospital Woodbourne
The Priory Hospital Woodbourne

A mental health hospital has been downgraded to “inadequate” by the regulator as the bereaved family of a former patient called for it to be shut down.

The Priory Hospital Woodbourne, in Birmingham, was inspected in May after an inquest found neglect at the facility contributed to the death of personal trainer Matthew Caseby, 23.

Its overall Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating has dropped from “good” to “inadequate” following the visit, according to the regulator.

Mr Caseby was killed by a train after absconding from the private mental health facility in September 2020.

He had been able to leave the hospital, where he was an NHS-funded patient, by climbing over a courtyard fence, an inquest heard in April.

The jury ruled he was left “inappropriately unattended” for several minutes before he scaled the 2.3 metre-high barrier and the hospital is now facing a criminal probe over his death.

Matthew Caseby
Matthew Caseby

Craig Howarth, the head of hospital inspections for mental health services at the CQC, raised concerns that management at the facility had failed to fully respond to information from the coroner’s inquiry.

“It was concerning that at our inspection, staff couldn’t directly observe patients in all outside areas of the wards without physically escorting them,” Mr Howarth said.

‘The place should be shut down’

Richard Caseby, Mr Caseby’s father, said it was “shocking” that the hospital still presented a “danger” to patients two years after his son’s death.

He said: “It is shocking that two years after Matthew’s death and five months after a damning judgment of neglect at his inquest, the Woodbourne Priory hospital is still a danger to patients.

“The place should be shut down before anyone else is hurt there.”

In June, the CQC said it was conducting a formal criminal investigation into Mr Caseby’s death which remains underway.

Following the initial inspection in May, which was unannounced, the CQC also received more “information of concern” about the hospital, which was unrelated to the prevention of future deaths report published by the coroner.

This prompted a second inspection in August.

Mr Howarth said more work was needed to address “some remaining environmental issues”.

The findings of the August inspection will be published in due course, he added.

A hospital spokesman said: “Patient safety remains our overriding priority and we acted swiftly and responsively to all concerns raised with us. We are confident in the additional, comprehensive work undertaken to implement new patient safety processes and enhance existing ones.”