A psychiatric intensive care service has temporarily closed to ensure patient and staff safety across Lincolnshire’s adult mental health wards.
Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) says it has taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the Hartsholme Centre on Long Leys Road in Lincoln, which provides psychiatric intensive care for men.
Sarah Connery, Chief Executive at LPFT said: “Despite significant work to recruit additional staff and retain and support our current workforce, it has become clear that we no longer have enough staff to safely and effectively run all of our adult mental health wards.
“We are aware that staffing on our wards does not always allow us the opportunity to provide the very best care to aid patients’ recovery and, whilst there has been no harm as a consequence, we do not want to risk the safety of our patients and staff with this continuing.
“We have therefore taken the difficult decision to reduce our current hospital services and temporarily close our smallest ward, the Hartsholme Centre, suspending new admissions with immediate effect.
“During the temporary closure we will redeploy our highly skilled, flexible and experienced staff to support our other mental health wards across the county, so we can continue to deliver high quality, safe care that meets people’s needs.
“This decision has not been taking lightly, however patient and staff safety must remain our priority.”
The Trust will shortly be seeking views on the temporary closure and will be working closely with commissioners, and other organisations in health and care, as well as staff, patients and carers to understand the impact and what needs to happen to enable the ward to reopen as soon as is safely possible.
Chris Higgins, Director of Operations at LPFT added: “We welcome our communities’ support in shaping the service moving forwards and will be hosting a number of engagement workshops and a survey in the coming weeks to hear people’s views. In the meantime, if anyone has any comments or concerns about this temporary change, please email [email protected]
He went on: “It continues to be our ambition to provide psychiatric intensive care services for both men and women in the county and this is very much intended to be a temporary closure whilst we stabilise our workforce and ensure our services are as resilient and safe as possible.”
During the temporary closure the Trust says it will continue to provide a robust crisis, assessment hospital service for those with mental health needs, however, a small number of men who require higher levels of care, may have to travel outside of Lincolnshire to alternative psychiatric intensive care sites.
LPFT will be working closely with neighbouring services to minimise any distance travelled and continue to support patients and their carers and families throughout their admission.
The Hartsholme Centre provides a 10-bed psychiatric intensive care service for men on the St George’s NHS site in Lincoln. While based in Lincoln, it provides a service to the whole county of Lincolnshire.
The service provides intensive psychiatric care to patients with complex and challenging needs who may require an increased level of staff support and may not be appropriate to be managed on other mental health wards.
The trust says that recruitment in the NHS nationally remains a challenge and like all mental health trusts it is experiencing difficulties attracting people to work in Lincolnshire to provide sufficient levels of staffing on wards.
The Hartsholme Centre currently has four remaining patients, all of which already had plans in place to step up/down their care prior to the decision to close. The Trust will be working over the coming days with its remaining acute wards and other low/medium secure services to ensure suitable alternative placements are found.