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Help us to STOP Ivetsey Bank from expanding.

Ivetsy bank is the last remaining Huntercombe/ACG CAMHS hospital. ACG are attempting to expand their service despite a long history of service failure, abuse and neglect of children and young people.

Enough is enough. We're taking a stand against this proposed development so that no more children are harmed by a provider that has failed beyond excuse.

 

And we need your help!

Image © David Baird.

What's going on at Ivetsey Bank Hospital?

Despite a long history of failures by ACG/Huntercombe, Ivetsey Bank in Staffordshire remains open.

In Sept 2022, Active Care Group submitted an application to Staffs County Council to expand their service provision at Ivetsey Bank Hospital to include a new 12 bed CAMHS unit and on-site SEND school. The planning application is due for decision on 17th Oct 2023 (Ref for application: 22/00849/OUT). In the same month, the CQC published their inspection report, which rated Ivetsey Bank as ‘Requires Improvement’ and opted for the hospital to remain in ‘Special Measures’ (where it has been since October 2021). Between Sept 2022 and Feb 2023, Active Care Group were given the green light to open Ivetsey House, a CAMHS 'step-down' sister service to Ivetsey Bank Hospital, despite being in special measures.

In November 2022, a routine CQC inspection into care and treatment at Ivetsey Bank Hospital, formerly Huntercombe Stafford, found Ivetsey Bank 'Inadequate'. Ivetsey Bank Hospital was issued a warning notice and remained in special measures. In June 2023, the CQC inspected again, and rated the service as ‘Requires Improvement’ in all areas apart from 'Well-led', which was rated as 'Inadequate'. Ivetsey Bank remains in special measures and was issued further enforcement action as a result of this latest inspection.

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CQC's latest inspection of Ivetsey Bank Hospital in summary.

Areas of concern highlighted by CQC's latest inspection included:

 

  • ‘Young people did not receive 25 hours of therapeutic intervention each week in line with NHS England guidance’
     

  • ‘Staff did not always manage dynamics between young people within the wards; young people said this made them feel unsafe’
     

  • ‘Staff were not always following the Rapid Tranquilisation policy; physical healthcare observations were not always completed after rapid tranquilisation was used’

In the same month, the CQC published a ‘well-led inspection’ of Active Care Group as an overall provider; the CQC wrote ‘there was not a clarity about what type of services the provider felt they had the skills and experience to deliver in the future and those which they would not be willing to acquire’. The report identified numerous statutory areas of improvement, including ‘following the challenges with the inpatient services for young people with mental health needs, [Active Care Group] must review their strategic planning so they can clearly articulate which groups of services users they are planning to support in the future (Regulation 17: Good Governance)’.

Despite lack of assurance in Active Care Group’s ability to provide CAMHS mental health care, Ivetsey Bank are still planning on expanding. Despite numerous media reports during this time and patient experiences such as below, ACG still holds a contract with NHS England to deliver these services.

What does it mean if a hospital is put into 'Special Measures'?

According to the Care Quality Commission, when a service is put into special measures it is because the service is providing inadequate care, and the aim of special measures is to prevent a service from continuing to provide inadequate care. Supposedly, action is taken by the CQC to cancel the registration of any service that is found to be continually providing inadequate care (cqc.org.uk).

Ivetsey Bank, then Huntercombe Stafford, was first inspected by the CQC under their modern method of regulating in 2016. It was placed in special measures and rated 'inadequate' in all areas. In 2017, it was taken out of special measures and rated 'requires improvement' overall. In 2018, the hospital was rated 'good' in four areas and 'outstanding' in one.

The hospital was then not inspected by the CQC until 2021, 3 years later, when the hospital was re-branded as 'Ivetsey Bank Hospital' after the Huntercombe Group merged with Active Care Group.

At its first inspection as 'Ivetsey Bank' in 2021, the hospital was rated inadequate overall and placed into special measures by the CQC. The hospital was most recently inspected in June 2023. It is rated 'requires improvement', and remains in special measures.

It's been 7 years since the CQC undertook their first inspection at Ivetsey Bank hospital using their modern method of inspecting. Out of those seven years, Ivetsey Bank have spent four years, over half of that time, in special measures. Out of the 5 inspections CQC have made during that period, Ivetsey Bank was rated as 'inadequate' 40% of the time. 80% of the time, it was considered not to be providing 'good' care.

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Yet, no action has been taken by the CQC to cancel Ivetsey Bank's registration.

In fact, alarmingly, over the time that Ivetsey has been in special measures, the CQC have allowed Active Care Group to develop a sister unit to Ivetsey Bank Hospital, a 4-bed step down unit called Ivetsey House.

Now, Ivetsey Bank Hospital is planning to expand, and still no steps have been taken by CQC to cancel the hospital's registration.

How can you help us to stop Ivetsey Bank from expanding?

Write to your MP, and the MP for South Staffordshire.

If you have been a patient at Ivetsey Bank or Huntercombe Stafford, share your story.

Sign and share our petition to get Ivetsey Bank Hospital shut down.

We need as much support as we can get in preventing Ivetsey Bank from expanding. Find your local MP and write to them, quoting the information and statistics above, and ask for their support in ensuring that no child is harmed at Ivetsey Bank hospital again. You could also write to Gavin Williamson, the MP for South Staffordshire, or email him at gavin.williamson.mp@parliament.uk.

Our stories are the most powerful tools we have. If you've ever been harmed at Ivetsey Bank, or another hospital like Ivetsey, please share your experiences. You could write for us on our blog, Stronger Together, share your artwork with us, or contact Rebecca Thomas (twitter profile) at the Independent to have your voice shared in an article or interview, like many of us have.

Sign our petition here. Please share as widely as you can; the more signatures we're able to collect, the more pressure we put on Active Care Group to close Ivetsey Bank hospital down for good.

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