Our response to the BBC investigation into the Priory Group

26 April 2023

Today (Wednesday April 26th) we respond to a BBC investigation which features claims from former senior managers at the Priory Group who shared concerns about the safety of patients and staff. This story follows the tragic loss of Beth Matthews and two other women, Deseree Fitzpatrick and Lauren Bridges, who died while inpatients at the Priory Group's Cheadle Royal Hospital in Stockport.

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness and Chief Executive of Mental Health UK:

“We keep Beth Matthews’ loved ones in our thoughts today, alongside other families who have been let down by services that failed to keep their loved ones safe and provide the appropriate, dedicated support they needed.

“The BBC investigation into the delivery of services by the Priory Group raises important questions not just for the Priory Group but the wider environment in which services are delivered. The availability of a trained, committed workforce is the foundation on which appropriate and safe care that aids recovery is built. Everyone will appreciate that recruiting and retaining this skilled workforce comes at a cost and too often the consequence of this is a lack of focus on quality. If we want our sons, daughters, loved ones and friends to have the care they need and deserve we have to demand better. There can be no avoiding the reality that this requires the Government to adequately fund mental health services – both those in clinical settings and those in the community.

“In tandem, we need to reform the Mental Health Act to give people in crisis more say in their care and to address many of the systemic issues placing patient safety at risk, alongside a robust inspection system that hears the voices of people using services and holds all providers to the same high standards.

“The ongoing rapid review into mental health care is of critical importance. A statutory public inquiry could also act to address many of the systemic issues placing patient safety at risk, but every day waiting for the findings and recommendations of such an inquiry leaves people in inpatient mental health units at risk. We need more urgent action to push standards up.”