Young person overdosed after group broke into medication cabinet at Norfolk mental health hospital

The Huntercombe Hospital - Norwich.

The Huntercombe Hospital - Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A young person at a mental health hospital overdosed after a group of patients broke into a medication cabinet.

The Huntercombe Hospital - Norwich.

The Huntercombe Hospital - Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It happened at the Huntercombe Hospital, in Buxton, ahead of an unannounced Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which caused the hospital to close.

Yesterday this newspaper revealed the privately run hospital, which provides services for children and young people aged 12 to 18 with long-standing and complex mental health issues, would close after a joint review by NHS England and the CQC.

It is understood the review happened after the incident, where a small group of patients broke into the medication store.

One person was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) for treatment, but it is not believed any serious harm was caused.


Huntercombe - Credit: Archant

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A report on the most recent inspection has not yet been made public, but at a previous inspection in May it was found the hospital was inadequate for safety, and rated as requires improvement overall.

North Norfolk MP and former health minister Norman Lamb said: 'There are obviously very serious concerns which have been raised about quality and safety by staff.

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'The fact that Huntercombe are talking to staff and closing it down means it is obviously a very serious situation.'

Yesterday, a spokesman for Huntercombe Hospital said: 'The closure plan has not been arrived at easily and it is based on a combination of factors.

'We have been aware recently that the service was not meeting the standards that we expect to provide and whilst there have been improvements, there is still more to do to meet CQC requirements.

'We have agreed with NHS England and CQC that we will move all patients out of the service.'

He added: 'The wellbeing of the young people in our care is our priority and we are working collaboratively with case managers from NHS England and NHS Wales to ensure that patients and their families are supported while arrangements are made for alternative care provision that is appropriate to their needs.'

It is expected all 19 of the patients at the hospital - some of which are from as far away as Wales - will be relocated by mid-December.

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