Ward to close due to mental health staff crisis
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.”