Northampton hospital unit threatened with closure within six months after damning inspection report

A Northampton hospital unit is on its last warning from the health watchdog after being placed in special measures

It comes after St Andrew's Hospital was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March and April, which looked at the unit for adolescents with mental health conditions.

Inspectors have pledged to cancel St Andrew's Hospital's registration if rapid improvements are not made

Inspectors have pledged to cancel St Andrew's Hospital's registration if rapid improvements are not made

Despite previous warnings the hospital failed to improve, and now the safety, care and overall ratings have been branded 'inadequate'.

READ MORE: What we know so far about St Andrew's Hospital failings

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The CQC has now given St Andrew's bosses a maximum of six months to improve. If it does not, the watchdog said it will cancel the unit's registration, in effect closing it.

A CQC spokeswoman said: "The service will be re-inspected within six months and, if improvements have not been made, the CQC will take action to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service."

In May 2017, CQC rated the service as Requires Improvement overall following a comprehensive inspection.

CQC also carried out a focussed inspection between October 2018 and January 2019, in response to concerns. While that inspection did not alter the trust’s rating, CQC told the service it must make improvements to how it manages patients who required long term segregation.

Following its latest inspection, the service is now rated as Inadequate overall as well as for whether the service being provided is safe, caring and well-led. The service is rated as Good for whether it is effective and responsive.

CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals (and lead for mental health), Dr Paul Lelliott, said: “This is the third time that we have inspected St Andrew’s Healthcare Adolescents Service in the past two years. Over that time, the service has failed to address some of the concerns we have raised. In some important respects, the safety of care has deteriorated."

Inspectors highlighted some outstanding areas of practice.

The service provided an impressive range of therapies within excellent facilities. The environment was well designed and spacious which allowed staff to carry out therapies, education and activities in both group and one to one settings.

The service provided outstanding support for patients with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender needs and encouraged staff diversity through the promotion of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, bi-sexual, transgender, black, Asian and minority ethnic rights.