Mental health hospital ward closes to new patients

Northgate Hospital. Picture: James Bass

Northgate Hospital. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

A ward on a mental health hospital has been closed to new patients to allow staff to catch up on training lost during the midst of the Covid pandemic.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has taken the decision to temporarily stop new patients from being admitted to the adult ward of Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

While people already receiving care in the hospital in Northgate Street are continuing to do so, the trust will not be admitting new patients until further notice.

This decision, the trust says, was made to allow the space to be used to help staff members catch up with face-to-face training that could not be carried out while the country was in lockdown.

Diane Hull, chief nurse at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

Diane Hull, chief nurse at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Diane Hull, chief nurse at NSFT, said: “We have taken the difficult decision to not accept any further patients into our adult ward at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth. This is a temporary arrangement and is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“The decision was taken to allow our staff to catch up on vital training which must take place face-to-face - training that was suspended during the height of the pandemic because we needed to keep people safe from Covid.

“Our priority is to support our staff, giving them the time to train and develop their skills so that they can continue to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients.”

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At full capacity, the hospital provides 20 beds for acutely unwell patients, but the temporary closure has resulted in the loss of a number of these.

It comes at a time when the trust is facing growing demand for its services - but also with another of its wards closed.

The Rollesby ward at Hellesdon Hospital, which provided 10 intensive care beds, closed for refurbishment in March and is yet to re-open. It is due to be brought back into use next month and could become a single-sex unit for women.

The trust is currently aiming to have zero out of area placements by spring 2022, having previously aspired to reach this target by September of this year. However, rising demand for services prevented the trust from achieving this goal.

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