Update following temporary ward closure

Regional low secure forensic mental heath service at Clifton House, York

The statement below is an update from Lynn Parkinson, Interim Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, following the temporary closure of Westerdale Ward at our low secure forensic mental health service in York, based at Clifton House.

Westerdale Ward is a 13 bedded ward for men with mental health problems.

Lynn Parkinson, Interim Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We took the difficult decision to temporarily close Westerdale Ward at Clifton House in November 2016. This was due to an ongoing staff shortage. Patient safety is our first priority and we did not want to put extra pressure on existing staff and risk the wards becoming unsafe.

“The temporary closure happened in December and was well managed with all service users transitioning safely. Since January 2017, we’ve run a national high profile recruitment campaign to try and attract sufficient numbers of qualified nurses. This has included incentives such as relocation packages to encourage people to move from outside the local area.

“Whilst this has had some success, it’s not attracted the numbers of qualified staff needed to reopen Westerdale Ward safely in April as we’d originally intended. The aim to reopen in April was based on us having sufficient numbers of registered nurses in place and this is something we are continuing to pursue.

“The Trust and the commissioners of low secure forensic services, NHS England, remain committed to continuing to provide forensic services in York. We want to deliver these services in a way that best meets the needs of service users and takes account of future demand whilst ensuring they are safe and effective.

“We have therefore agreed to work with key partners over the next few months to agree the future structure and function of the wards at Clifton House. This will mean working jointly with commissioners and providers of local mental health services in York and other forensic mental health service providers within the Humber, Coast and Vale Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area to review and develop improved care pathways. Our ultimate aim is to establish the best configuration of the service for the people who need it.

“In light of this, we have agreed with NHS England that we will maintain the temporary closure of Westerdale Ward.

“We look forward to working with our partners to ensure good quality services are developed for the longer term.”