It was a heartbreaking moment. Tearful jury members embraced a bereaved mother after hearing how her 14-year- old daughter had died neglected at the Priory Ticehurst House hospital in East Sussex, one of the country’s most expensive private hospitals, which was being paid to care for her by the NHS. It is the latest indictment of the state of child mental health care in this country. Questions are now being raised about both the Priory Group – Britain’s biggest private mental health provider – and the way private companies are receiving millions of pounds from public funds each year to care for nearly half the NHS’s child mental health patients.
Amy El-Keria’s death was the culmination of months of serious failings at the hospital. Staff failed to pass on the fact that she had spoken of wanting to end her life, and in November 2012 the girl was found with a football scarf tied around her neck. Even though she had a history of using ligatures, opportunities to remove the scarf had been missed, and it had not been placed on a list of banned items. Also, her risk level had mistakenly been downgraded from high to medium….read more