Cawston Park deaths: Families meet care minister over hospital scandal

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

Families whose children died after being treated at a Norfolk private hospital have met a government minister to discuss the scandal.

Ben King, 32, Nicholas Briant, 33, and Joanna Bailey, 36, who all had learning disabilities, died within just over two years of each other while patients at Cawston Park hospital, near Aylsham.

Cawston Park Hospital from above.

Cawston Park Hospital. - Credit: Mike Page

A Safeguarding Adults Review revealed patients had been overmedicated, excessively restrained and ill-treated, with concerns raised by families ignored.

Report author Dr Margaret Flynn called on the government to end reliance on hospitals driven by profit.

Margaret Flynn

Margaret Flynn, who led the serious case review. - Credit: Margaret Flynn

On Thursday, Gillian Keegan, the government's care minister spoke to families at a meeting at Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters, hosted by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB).

Gillian Keegan

Care minister Gillian Keegan. - Credit: UK Parliament

Heather Roach, NSAB chair, said: “We welcome Gillian Keegan’s visit, and her willingness to meet the families face to face.

"While their conversations must remain private, I hope they underline the importance of learning the lessons of Cawston Park Hospital, and the need to take action at all levels of local and national government following the recommendations of the Safeguarding Adults Review."

Joanna Bailey from Collier Row, Romford

Joanna Bailey. - Credit: The Bailey family

Ms Bailey, from Romford, died at Cawston Park in April 2018. 

Most Read

An inquest found she died of natural causes, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, but the jury found CPR was not given prior to emergency services arriving and staff had not ensured she was using a machine to help her sleep apnoea.

Mr King, from Aylsham, who had Down's syndrome, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in July 2020.

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

Ben King, from Aylsham, died at Cawston Park Hospital in 2020. - Credit: Supplied courtesy of Ben King's family

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded Mr King “died due to inadequate weight management and failure to diagnose obesity hypoventilation syndrome and inadequate consideration of the use of promethazine".

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

Mr Briant, from London, died on October 31, 2019, after swallowing a piece of plastic cup.

He had a known history of consuming objects. An inquest ruled his death was misadventure.

Jeesal Akman Care Corporation, which ran the hospital until it shut in May, apologised, saying their care was "far below the standards we would have expected".

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter