Safety fears close Ar­gyll’s only men­tal health ward

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

THE ONLY in­ten­sive men­tal health ward in Ar­gyll has been tem­po­rar­ily closed to new ad­mis­sions fol­low­ing con­cerns over staffing and safety.

The news, re­vealed in a press re­lease by NHS High­land on Fri­day July 22, comes on the back of shock news in The Oban Times last week of fur­ther cuts to beds and staffing at Lorn and Is­lands Hos­pi­tal, Oban.

A spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (HSCP) said: ‘Fol­low­ing a re­cent re­view of in­pa­tient men­tal health ser­vices within Ar­gyll and Bute Hos­pi­tal in Lochgilp­head, the In­ten­sive Psy­chi­atric Care Unit (IPCU) has been tem­po­rar­ily closed to new ad­mis­sions.

‘Suc­coth ward [where longert­erm pa­tients are based], how­ever, will not be af­fected and will re­main open to new ad­mis­sions.’

The IPCU is used to sup­port peo­ple with acute men­tal health dis­tress. Pa­tients are gen­er­ally ad­mit­ted to IPCU un­der the Men­tal Health Care and Treat­ment Act (2003) and are re­ferred through emer­gency care prac­ti­tion­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers and so­cial work­ers.

Dr Michael Hall, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for Ar­gyll and Bute HSCP, said: ‘ We re­cently car­ried out a re­view of in­pa­tient men­tal health ser­vices within Ar­gyll and Bute Hos­pi­tal and a num­ber of chal­lenges were iden­ti­fied, in­clud­ing the pro­vi­sion of a safe care en­vi­ron­ment and the avail­abil­ity of trained nurs­ing staff.

‘The In­ten­sive Psy­chi­atric Care Unit within the hos­pi­tal has there­fore been tem­po­rar­ily closed to new ad­mis­sions but it can still be used on an in­terim ba­sis as a place of safety for up to 72 hours to al­low pa­tients to be clin­i­cally as­sessed.

‘If pa­tients re­quire a more pro­longed pe­riod of in­ten­sive care treat­ment, they will be trans­ferred to an ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­ity out­with Ar­gyll and Bute.

‘In reach­ing this de­ci­sion, pa­tient safety and well-be­ing have been our pri­or­ity.

‘It is also our in­ten­tion to con­tinue with plans to re­lo­cate in­pa­tient men­tal health ser­vices from Ar­gyll and Bute Hos­pi­tal to the lower ground floor of Mid Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal and In­te­grated Care Cen­tre.

‘This re­quires some al­ter­ation works to en­sure the area meets the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments and it is an­tic­i­pated this work will be com­pleted by De­cem­ber 2016.

‘This planned re­lo­ca­tion is an in­terim mea­sure pend­ing fur­ther en­gage­ment prior to a fi­nal de­ci­sion about where the ser­vice will be pro­vided in the longer term.’

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