COUNTY NEWS: Priory hospital in Sussex responds to Dispatches allegations

The Dene in Hassocks. Picture: Google Streetview

A Priory hospital in Sussex has responded to allegations made in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

An undercover investigation was carried out at The Dene in Hassocks, West Sussex, which is one of the Priory Group hospitals.

The NHS has closed most of its psychiatric inpatient beds and funds hundreds of mental health patients in privately owned hospitals like The Dene.

The programme aired on C4 last Monday (February 19). In a statement – – C4 said: ‘‘As the largest private provider that leases mental health beds to the NHS, in the first nine months of 2017 the Priory Group received 90 per cent of its income from public funds – over £540 million.’’

A spokesman for the hospital said: “The Dene was rated good at its last inspection in August 2017, and we are obviously very disappointed by the incidents shown and allegations made in the programme.

“We will undertake a full investigation and continue to work with the CQC, commissioners and safeguarding authorities in taking appropriate and proportionate steps at the Dene to address the concerns raised.

“However, we consider that, overall, the allegations and incidents do not present a fair and accurate picture of the safety and quality of our services at the Dene.

“We are also very concerned that the footage has been obtained without due regard for the vulnerability or mental well-being of the patients at the Dene and that it has been presented without adequate context or understanding of the services provided.”

The C4 statement quotes Dr Sylvia Tang, CEO of Priory Healthcare and Partnerships in Care, as saying: “The Dene is one of the most challenging mental health units in the country. We are committed to learning lessons from any incidents including shortcomings in our care and we apologise if at any time patient or staff safety has been compromised.

‘‘However, we strongly dispute a number of the allegations made. This is not representative of the safety and quality of our services at The Dene.’’

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