Official probe into hospital where three patients died 'contentiously'

The accident happened near Cawston Park. Pictures: David Bale

Significant concerns were raised by CQC inspectors at Jeesal Cawston Park Hospital - Credit: David Bale

A private hospital that specialised in caring for people with learning disabilities is to be investigated following the deaths of three patients under contentious circumstances.

Joanna Bailey, 36, Nicholas Briant, 33, and Ben King, 32, all died within 27 months of one another while patients at Cawston Park Hospital, in Cawston near Aylsham.

The failing hospital closed in May 2021, after Care Quality Commission inspectors reported the Dereham based Jeesal Group, which ran the hospital, was "unable to demonstrate improvements."

Cawston Park. Picture: EDP Library/submitted

Cawston Park. Picture: EDP Library/submitted

Now, the Norfolk Safeguarding Adult Board has commissioned an independent report into the hospital to establish what went wrong and what lessons can be learnt.

The serious case review will be led by Margaret Flynn, who led the review into Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol in 2011.

The Winterbourne View scandal shocked the nation and uncovered serious abuse of patients which led to the imprisonment of six people and calls for fundamental changes in how the care of vulnerable adults be commissioned.

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

Ben King, died at Cawston Park Hospital on July 29 2020. An inquest into his death made a number of criticisms of the care he received. - Credit: Supplied courtesy of Ben King's family

Earlier this month an inquest into the death of Ben King who had Down's syndrome and was the third patient to die at Cawston Park found serious failings in the treatment he received.

His mother, Gina Egmore, said when he was admitted to the hospital she expected that he "would be properly cared for" but evidence heard in the inquest suggested, "this clearly wasn't the case".

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

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

Joan Maughan, chair of the Norfolk safeguarding adults board, said: “Ben’s death was a tragedy and I send my condolences to his family.

“It follows the death of two other people at the same private hospital, Cawston Park, over a period of 27 months.

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“Serious lessons must be learnt and that is why the board has commissioned an independent review, led by Margaret Flynn. We will publish our report and its recommendations in September.”

The Jeesal Group bought Cawston Park Hospital in 2010 with "the aim of being able to provide clinical care and treatment and supporting people as quickly as possible back into the community". 

When the hospital closed in May 2021 it had been in special measures since 2019 and was banned from admitting new patients in early 2020. 

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