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Police investigating death of young girl at mental health hospital

Exclusive: Thames Valley Police is conducting an investigation after the death of a girl at Huntercombe Hospital

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Friday 25 February 2022 22:30 GMT
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Police are investigating the death of a young girl at The Huntercombe Maidenhead mental health hospital
Police are investigating the death of a young girl at The Huntercombe Maidenhead mental health hospital (PA Wire)

The police are investigating the death of a young person at a mental health hospital, The Independent can reveal.

Police are investigating the death of a young girl at The Huntercombe Maidenhead mental health hospital in February.

In a statement to The Independent: Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police is conducting an investigation after the death of a girl following an incident at Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead on Saturday 12 February. The girl’s next of kin have been informed and our officers are supporting them. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time. An investigation is ongoing to understand the circumstances around this tragic incident.”

Care Watchdog the Care Quality Commission has also said it was notified of the young girls death. The care regulator said it could not comment further.

The NHS confirmed to The Independent admissions to one of the hospital’s wards have been suspended.

The 60-bed hospital was rated Inadequate and placed in special measures by the CQC in February 2021 following serious concerns over care of patients.

In March 2021, after the hospital was taken over by Montreux Capital, the quality regulator gave the hospital a warning notice and placed a limit on its ability to admit new patients.

The Health Service Journal reported last year multiple concerns had been raised about the hospital, including with NHS England, years before the CQC rated the home inadequate. It was previously rated “good” in 2016 and 2019.

Teenagers treated at a private mental health unit for children at the time described how they were restrained for hours by staff multiple times a day and left covered in bruises.

However, in September 2021 the hospital’s rating was upgraded by the CQC to "requires improvement", after the watchdog said it had found improvements.

A spokesperson for Active Care Group, which owns the Huntercombe Maidenhead, said: “We can confirm that one of our young patients tragically passed away at the John Radcliffe hospital on Monday 14 February 2022. A full investigation into the circumstances leading up to this tragedy has been launched and we will cooperate with any other investigations. Expert psychological support is being provided to individual patients and staff on the ward. Our sincere condolences go to all those affected.”

Karen Bennett-Wilson, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said:“As this case is currently being investigated by Thames Valley police and Windsor and Maidenhead council’s safeguarding team, it would be inappropriate for CQC to comment at this time.

“We are looking into the circumstances of the death in line with our incident guidance and will consider any action we may wish to take once this is concluded.”

In a statement sent to The Independent, the group of NHS trusts who are responsible for commissioning the hospital on behalf of NHS England, said: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the family of the young person at this very difficult time.

“We are working closely with Huntercombe and other agencies to ensure that a high standard of care for patients at the ward is maintained and that the hospital and the young people currently in the ward are supported.”

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