'We did not get this right' - Health commissioners on Cawston Park report

Cawston Park

Joanna Bailey and Ben King (inset) were among three patients who died while in the care of Cawston Park. - Credit: The Bailey Family/Ben King's Family/Archant

Norfolk’s chief nurse has admitted the oversight of care given to a Norfolk man who was among the three people who died in a private hospital was "not good enough".

At the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) annual general meeting on Tuesday, its chief nurse Cath Byford discussed a recent review into the deaths of Ben King, 32, Nicholas Briant, 33, and Joanna Bailey, 36, at Cawston Park, near Aylsham. 

Dereham-based owners Jeesal Group closed the hospital in May after CQC inspectors - who had put it into special measures - said they were "unable to demonstrate  improvements."

Ms Byford said: “For people who don’t know, this is a private hospital that is now closed and it was a specialist learning disability unit, and patients were placed there by CCGs and NHS England from all across the country.

“But Ben was 32 and he was a Norfolk resident. He had Down's syndrome and was an inpatient at Jeesal Cawston Park for more than two years before he died in July last year.  

“Norfolk and Waveney CCG fully accepts the findings of the Safeguarding Adult Review and recognises that we did not get this right, and that our commissioning and oversight of Ben’s care was not good enough, both for him and his family.”

Ms Byford said the CCG was making changes to the way in which it commissions services and care for people with learning disabilities and autistic people. 

The changes will include “a pooled budget with the adult social care team at Norfolk County Council and a commitment across the whole system to a minimal reliance on independent hospital provision for people with learning disabilities and autistic people".

“That will include only admitting people to any inpatient hospital setting in extreme circumstances and to limit out-of-area placements by clinical exception only.”

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A listening programme with patients, families and carers will focus on the lived experience of the individuals and their families, Ms Byford said. 

There will also be a greater oversight of providers, with more rigorous quality-monitoring, she added, as well as the recruitment of more learning disability specialist nurses within the CCG. 

Ms Byford said the legacy of Joanna, Nicholas and Ben will be in the greater steps taken to prevent “another person or their family experiencing physical or emotional harm, as a result of services that they receive, that are ineffective or inadequate".