Psychiatric ward remains closed following 'significant damage'

Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, has conf

Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer of NSFT, addressed the closure - Credit: Archant

A psychiatric intensive care unit in Norwich is to remain closed for a further eight weeks following “significant damage”.  

The board of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was asked to address the temporary closure of Rollesby Ward,  a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Hellesdon Hospital during its meeting on Thursday. 

The ward offers assessment and treatment for people detained under the Mental Health Act.  

A question to the board asked why bed occupancy was low on the ward prior to its closure and how it provided efficient staffing.  

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: BILL SMITH/ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: BILL SMITH/ARCHANT ARCHIVE - Credit: Archant © 2012

Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer, did not say the reason for the “significant damage” but said work would include replacing doorways, a new CCTV system and fire alarm as part of the redecoration.  

Mr Richardson said: "That refurbishment is really about addressing some significant damage that has happened over the last two to three months.” 

Addressing questions around the impact of the closure to patients and whether it had resulted in them being sent out of area for treatment, the chief operating officer added the trust was further addressing clinical concerns around the unit being mixed gender.

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Mr Richarson said: “That’s causing some considerable concerns to people, particularly around our female service users who require a PICU environment and how difficult that can be, how inappropriate that can be.  

"We have been able to use this period to ensure any female service patients that we have, have been able to be at Rollesby and we have been able to use Lark to support our male patients.  

"Therefore it hasn’t had a significant impact on out of area. We haven’t used those beds in Rollesby for acute patients. That’s mainly because the clinical presentation for someone who needs to go into an acute ward instead of PICU is very different.” 

Addressing concerns of staffing numbers on the ward, the chief executive officer said the ward had been run at a reduced number.

Mr Richardson said: “We have been utilising some bank and agency staff we have also had some consistent staff there from the initial Rollesby team. 

“We have been putting in an additional lead nurse and matron cover to make sure the team is supported.”  

A full response to the member of the public's questions will be released on its website in due course.