'Things have to change' - meeting held over Cawston Park deaths

Cawston Park

Joanna Bailey and Ben King (inset) were among three patients who died while in the care of Cawston Park. - Credit: The Bailey Family/Ben King's Family/Archant

Members of the group behind a report into the deaths of three vulnerable people at a Norfolk private hospital have met government officials to discuss the tragedies.

Ben King, 32, Nicholas Briant, 33, and Joanna Bailey, 36, died while they were patients at Cawston Park hospital, near Aylsham.

Cawston Park Hospital from above.

Cawston Park hospital. - Credit: Mike Page

A serious case review, commissioned by Norfolk Safeguarding Adults’ Board, found major failures of governance, commissioning, oversight, planning for individuals and professional practice at the hospital, which has since closed.

The review's author Dr Margaret Flynn called on the government to end the country's reliance on hospitals driven by profit.

And members of the safeguarding adults board met Department of Health and Social Care officials to repeat that call - ahead of Conservative MP Jerome Mayhew raising it in the House of Commons on Tuesday night.

Joan Maughan, chair of the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board. Pic: Bill Smith.

Joan Maughan, former chair of the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board. - Credit: Bill Smith

Joan Maughan, former chair of the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board, who attended the meeting, said: "I am confident we got our message across - things have to change, nationally, to tackle issues at these private hospitals."

Norfolk police are re-examining their investigation into the circumstances around the death of Ms Bailey, from Romford, who died at Cawston Park in April 2018.

Joanna Bailey

Joanna Bailey. - Credit: The Bailey Family

An inquest found she died of natural causes - sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

Police had investigated why CPR had not been administered before emergency services arrived, although the Crown Prosecution Service had not proceeded after the file was submitted.

Police are also investigating allegations of ill treatment of Mr King, from Aylsham, who died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in July 2019.

Ben King, died at Cawston Park Hospital on July 29 2020

Ben King. - Credit: Supplied courtesy of Ben King's family

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An inquest concluded Mr King “died due to inadequate weight management and failure to diagnose obesity hypoventilation syndrome and inadequate consideration of the use of promethazine".

But police are also investigating allegations he was struck by a member of staff on the day he died.

Nicholas Briant, from London, died on October 31, 2019, after swallowing a piece of plastic cup. An inquest ruled his death was misadventure.

Dereham-based Jeesal Group, which ran the hospital, has apologised and said care fell "far below" expected standards.

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