Hospital at centre of rape and death inquiries to close after investigation by The Independent

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A scandal-hit children’s mental health hospital will close months after an investigation by The Independent uncovered claims of poor care and systemic abuse.

Taplow Manor hospital, in Maidenhead, was threatened with closure by the NHS safety watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, only last week if it failed to make improvements following a damning report.

Active Care Group, which runs the hospital, confirmed it would close by the end of May, saying a decision by the NHS to stop admitting patients had rendered its “service untenable”.

The move comes after an investigation by The Independent and Sky News heard from more than 50 patients who alleged “systemic abuse” by the provider, while Taplow Manor is facing two police probes – one into a patient death and a second into the alleged rape of a child involving staff.

Since The Independent’s investigations, the CQC has rated both Active Care Group’s Stafford-based hospital Ivetsey Bank and Taplow Manor inadequate. Active Care Group took over the Huntercombe Group Hospitals in 2021.

A spokesperson for Active Care group said the “difficult” decision to close the hospital was made after the Thames Valley Provider Collaborative stopped admissions to the hospital’s acute and eating disorder wards on 23 March 2023.

“Due to patient numbers reducing, we will lose specialist staff and therefore the ability to provide an effective and safe service to these young people. Under the terms of our contract with the NHS, we are then no longer able to guarantee we have the required resources to deliver CAMHs services.

“Despite significant improvements noted in the latest CQC inspection, Taplow Manor has received a disproportionate amount of media attention in recent years. This has hugely impacted staff and ultimately contributed in part to this regrettable decision to close our CAMHs beds – which is the worst outcome for patients.”

It said the safety and care of its patients were a top priority and it was working to move patients from the hospital by end of May 2023.

The statement added: “Patients have been informed of the decision as have senior members of staff. We are in the process of contacting patients’ relatives directly.”

Taplow Manor will be the third children’s hospital owned by the former Huntercombe Group to be closed following concerns over poor care. Watcombe Hall closed in 2017 after it was placed in special measures. A staff member working at the hospital was jailed for grooming and sexual assault of patients shortly after.

In 2018, the CQC removed registration for The Huntercombe Norwich hospital following fears over patient safety.

Taplow Manor provides specialist mental health services for children and young people aged 12 to 18. It has 59 beds in total, providing eating disorder services, general CAMHS inpatient services, and psychiatric intensive care services. When the CQC inspected the unit in December 2022 there was a cap on the number of patients it could treat, up to 22, due to care concerns identified in June 2021.

Following its recent inspection of Taplow Manor, the CQC noted it is the only psychiatric intensive care unit wider geographical area.

NHS England and the Thames Valley provider collaborative have been approached for comment.

An NHS spokesperson said: “The overriding priority for the NHS and all parties, must be the care and safety of patients in Taplow Manor.

“We expect Active Care Group to work quickly and extremely closely with us on operational planning and this has to be done sensitively, keeping patient safety at the heart of any decisions and actions must be implemented – these plans will be communicated to patients and their families as soon as possible.”

Active Care Group said there are currently no plans by the NHS to pause admissions or by itself close Ivetsey Bank hospital.

This story was updated with a response from Active Care Group about its Ivestsey Bank Hospital.