Priory Group

The Priory Group is a provider of mental health care facilities in the United Kingdom. The group operates at more than 500 sites with over 7,000 beds. Its flagship hospital is the Priory Hospital, Roehampton,[1] which is best known for treating celebrities[2] particularly for drug addiction.[3] The Priory Group also manages schools, some for students with autism spectrum disorders through Priory Education and Children’s Services. Some of its facilities are run by its subsidiary Partnerships in Care. In January 2019 it opened its first overseas school in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.[4]

The Priory Healthcare Logo
Branch of The Priory in Hove


In 1980 the Priory Hospital in Roehampton was acquired by Community Psychiatric, an American healthcare company,[5] and became the first clinic in what was to become the Priory Group.[6]

The Priory Group was the subject of a management buyout, funded by Mercury Asset Management and several banks, in 1994.[6]

In 2000 Westminster Healthcare Group (a company owned by Dr Chai Patel) acquired Priory Hospitals from the management team and from Mercury Asset Management for £96 million.[7]

In 2002, the company was the subject of another management buyout, this time led by Doughty Hanson & Co, for £289 million.[8] The company was divested to ABN AMRO (later acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group) in July 2005 for £875 million, netting the five company directors over £50 million.[9]

Advent International took control for an aggregate consideration of £925 million in 2011.[10]

In October 2014, former Chief Executive, Tom Riall announced that the group was planning a significant expansion into the mental health community services market and would bid in partnership with “incumbent” NHS providers, an approach that would allow them to come up with new models of care. Anticipating more services to be put out to tender by Clinical commissioning groups, he noted that Priory could contribute "considerable commercial bidding expertise” and become the “overflow provider of choice” for the NHS.[11]

Acadia Healthcare bought the business for £1.3 billion in January 2016[12] and sold it to Waterland Private Equity for £1.1 billion in January 2021. Waterland plans to join it with MEDIAN of Germany "to create Europe’s leading rehabilitation and mental health services provider", especially in neurology and other post-acute services.[13]


After the suicide of a 14-year old girl, Amy El-Keria, funded by the NHS, at the group’s Ticehurst House hospital in East Sussex in 2012, a prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive. The company pleaded guilty to a charge of being an employer failing to discharge its duty to ensure people were not exposed to risk. It faced a fine of at least £2.4 million. The inquest jury found that the staff had failed to dial 999 quickly enough, had failed to call a doctor promptly and were not trained in CPR.[14]

Its hospital in High Wycombe, a 12-bed low-security unit for young people with learning disabilities or autism, which opened in April 2018 was closed in February 2019 after the Care Quality Commission rated it inadequate and said the staff lacked appropriate experience and skills. The company said that it could not recruit "an experienced, settled team of core nursing and clinical staff.”[15] The CQC rated three units run by Priory Group inadequate.[16]

Two of its hospitals, Kneesworth House in Hertfordshire and Priory Hospital Blandford, were rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in July 2019. Admissions to Priory Hospital were suspended “until further notice”. The greatest problems at Kneesworth house were on the forensic wards.[17] Ellingham Hospital, in Attleborough was rated inadequate in November 2019. According to Priory “the fundamental issue . . . was structural: there are simply not enough skilled staff in the region to meet the highly specialised needs of the young people at Ellingham”. 88.2% of its 93 mental healthcare facilities in the UK have received the equivalent of good or better ratings.[18]

St John’s House near Diss in Suffolk, a 49-bed hospital for adults living with learning disabilities and associated mental health issues was put in special measures in March 2021 after the Care Quality Commission rated it inadequate and accused staff of failing to ensure patients’ safety or dignity.[19]

Notable patientsEdit

The following is alphabetical list of notable people whom The Priory Group has treated:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Priory in rehab". The Daily Telegraph. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. ^ "The Priory offers counselling to pupils". The Daily Telegraph. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  3. ^ "BBC spends £19,000 treating stressed out staff at The Priory". The Daily Telegraph. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  4. ^ "ADEK partners with Priory to open the first dedicated school for children and young people with autism". Priory Group. 3 February 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  5. ^ "RBS eyes sale of Priory to private equity". The Financial Times. 20 May 2010. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Gimme shelter". The Guardian. 5 July 1999. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  7. ^ "The Man from the Priory". Management Today. 1 April 2004. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Priory clinics sold for £288m". BBC. 11 June 2002.
  9. ^ "Doughty Hanson sells Priory Group for £875m". 5 July 2005.
  10. ^ "Advent buys The Priory for £925m". The Telegraph. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Priory Group sets sights on community contracts". Local Government Chronicle. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  12. ^ "BC PARTNERS AGREES £320M DEAL FOR 22 PRIORY CLINICS". Insider media. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Waterland to acquire Priory Group in £1.1bn deal". Carehome Professional. 8 January 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Priory faces large fine after death of Amy El-Keria, 14". ITV. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  15. ^ "New hospital to close after 'inadequate' rating". Health Service Journal. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  16. ^ Inspectors discover poor standards at 28 mental health units The Guardian
  17. ^ "Two private hospitals placed in special measures". Health Service Journal. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  18. ^ "US corporations expand across NHS mental healthcare". Financial Times. 8 November 2019. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  19. ^ "'Elements of abuse' witnessed at 'inadequate' private hospital". Health Service Journal. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  20. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (16 March 2009). "Decca Aitkenhead Meets Craig Charles". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  21. ^ "Richey Edwards Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  22. ^ Paul Gascoigne; John McKeown; Hunter Davies (2006). Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons. London: Headline Publishing. ISBN 0-7553-1542-1.
  23. ^ "Former Man City star Michael Johnson having treatment after suffering mental illness". Irish Independent. Dublin: Independent News & Media. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Michael Johnson reveals Priory treatment for mental health problems". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  25. ^ "Darkness singer in rehab clinic". BBC News. 18 August 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  26. ^ Wallace, Sam (4 January 2017). "Silence from current players over child sex abuse claims has been deafening, says Steve Walters who hopes they can follow lead of Wolves captain Dave Edwards". Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2017.

External linksEdit