A Bromley ward for patients with learning disabilities has been slammed by the national health watchdog over serious concerns regarding the sexual safety of patients, CCTV use in bedrooms and the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection of the Keston Unit at The Priory Hospital Hayes Grove in Bromley and immediately took enforcement action to impose restrictions on the service provider.

Notably, the investigation found that an urgent review of the sexual safety of patients in the unit was urgently needed, with sexual safety risks were not adequately identified or managed.

The service also did not afford patients dignity or privacy because CCTV cameras had been activated in patient bedrooms without the consent of patients.

Another major concern was the failings in preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus "because staff did not wear face coverings correctly."

The Keston Unit is part of Bromley's Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, and is a mixed-gender unit for adults with autism and learning disabilities.

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The CQC, a major health watchdog, previously inspected the unit back in January 2020, and rated the unit as 'Inadequate', the lowest rating you can receive, and told the provider it was barred from accepting anymore new patients until improvements were made.

Inspectors undertook a focussed inspection in September after receiving anonymous whistleblowing concerns and an increase in notifications of safety incidents at the site.

The report was published today, November 17, and has identified major concerns in relation to the safety, quality and leadership of services as a result.

The CQC's head of hospital inspection, London, Helen Rawlings, said: "During the inspection, we found several serious concerns relating to the leadership of the unit which resulted in the need for us to use our legal powers to take immediate enforcement action.

"As a result, we placed the service into special measures, insisting that the hospital undertake an urgent review of the sexual safety of patients, make urgent changes regarding the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in patient bedrooms and urgent improvements regarding the provision of therapeutic activity to aid patients in their recovery."


In response, a spokesperson for the hospital said: "Despite sustained improvements in many areas since the inspection, we have decided to close Keston Unit at the end of the year.

"We took this decision after conducting an additional internal inspection, which concluded that the physical environment would not support the delivery of high quality care going forward."

The report said: "The service did not always provide safe care, and the ward did not have sufficiently skilled leadership to improve the culture of the ward - there was also no clear service model and a lack of robust plans to improve."

It continued: "The service had a track record of struggling to sustain improvements including improvements to therapeutic activity provisions, discharge planning and in ensuring the ward complied with guidance on same-sex accommodation and the ward was non-compliant with guidance on same-sex accommodation."

The report was highly critical of the unit's leadership, and there were also not enough therapeutic activities available to patients aimed to develop their daily living skills.

The hospital spokesman added: “We are supporting each individual in our care with their transition to a new service, and the hospital remains rated ‘good’ overall.

"We have a comprehensive Covid-19 policy in place, with regular checks to ensure it is fully implemented. The safety of those in our care will always be our primary concern."