by Local Democracy Reporter Louise Hill with additional reporting by IW Observer
There will be no specialist dementia care at St Mary’s Hospital following the decision that Shackleton Ward will close permanently, just months after reopening.
The news, announced on Friday (Sept 13), follows a £200k refurbishment in June, when it was welcomed as an improvement in dementia care. It will be replaced by a community-based service, supporting older people in their homes, or nursing or care homes. However that is not yet set up and until it is patients needing specialist dementia care will be sent to mainland hospitals.
Shackleton Ward will not reopen after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about the standard of care provided. It was closed in August when the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it did not have enough experienced staff to care for patients. The ward had reopened just two months earlier, after being refurbished specifically for dementia patients. At the time Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “Our team working on the ward can be proud of their surroundings. It is a real improvement for the people of the Island.”
The ward had been closed in April after it was deemed ‘unfit for purpose.’ During the closure, patients were sent to mainland hospitals.
A spokesperson said: “This ward won’t reopen. The new community service will replace it permanently. The CQC report, published after the ward had been closed to admissions, does raise concerns about the quality of care provided and that was an important part of the decision not to reopen the ward.”
Dr Lesley Stevens, the Trust’s director of mental health and learning disabilities, said: “We have been working with our clinical commissioners and have agreed that Shackleton Ward will remain closed indefinitely because of a shortage of staff. Creating this new service fits with the priorities set out in the Mental Health Blueprint and the Isle of Wight Health and Care Plan, both show that to improve mental health services we must change our model of care to be more community-based.” Just three months ago in June she said: “We are thrilled to have Shackleton Ward reopened and to be able to offer a much more welcoming, homely and dignified environment to Island patients.”