Ward to close due to men­tal health staff cri­sis

The Herald - - NEWS -

A MEN­TAL health ward will be forced to close tem­po­rar­ily next month af­ter a short­age of ju­nior doc­tors and trainee psy­chi­a­trists in Tay­side made it “im­pos­si­ble” to run the ser­vice safely.

Adult psy­chi­atric pa­tients un­der­go­ing treat­ment at the Mul­berry ward in the Su­san Carnegie Cen­tre in An­gus will be trans­ferred to the Mur­ray Royal Hos­pi­tal in Perth or Car­se­view Cen­tre in Dundee from Fe­bru­ary 1. The Rowan and Wil­low wards, which ac­com­mo­date up to 30 el­derly psy­chi­atric pa­tients, are not af­fected.

Mean­while, the out-ofhours Cri­sis Re­sponse Ser­vice based the Mur­ray Royal will trans­fer to Car­se­view from 3pm to 9am week­days and at week­ends.

The con­tin­gency plan has been ac­ti­vated af­ter it emerged that the num­ber of ju­nior doc­tors avail­able from the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary would fall to fewer than 19, from a re­quired min­i­mum of 31.

The health board said this was due to “a na­tional short­age of trainee psy­chi­a­trists and changes to the num­ber of ju­nior doc­tors avail­able to NHS Tay­side” which made it “im­pos­si­ble to sus­tain safe ser­vices across three sites”.

Pro­fes­sor An­drew Rus­sell, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for NHS Tay­side, said: “We un­der­stand that this de­ci­sion may cause up­set to pa­tients and their fam­i­lies but we can­not com­pro­mise the safety of our pa­tients and we sim­ply do not have the right level of med­i­cal cover at this time.

“Our doc­tors and con­sul­tants are clear that it is only by in­vok­ing these con­tin­gency plans that they will be able to con­tinue to pro­vide safe and ef­fec­tive men­tal health and care ser­vices for peo­ple across An­gus, Dundee and Perth & Kin­ross.”

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