Ellerbeck Ward closes to admissions

Ellerbeck ward at Workington Hospital has temporarily closed to admissions after a specialist report highlighted issues that would limit our ability to evacuate the first floor ward in the unlikely event of an incident.

A specialist report commissioned by the Trust and received recently highlighted previously unknown construction and design issues relating to defects to the fire stopping to the compartment walls and the design of the staircase. This reduces the ability of staff to evacuate often immobile patients from the ward in a timely manner.

As a result, the Trust implemented a series of precautionary measures last week including reducing the number of patients and increasing the number of staff available to conduct evacuation should it be needed.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service visited the site yesterday and were satisfied with the Trust’s assessment of the issues and confirmed that we had taken appropriate action.  They were in agreement that the Trust should not admit any more patients on the ward until the issues have been rectified.  Although the issues with the fire stopping affects the hospital building, the fire service have agreed that the training of additional fire wardens and fire checks ensure it can continue to operate as normal.

We are working with our construction colleagues to identify a timescale for rectification and will reassess the risks in one month.

Dr Craig Melrose, Associate Medical Director said, “The safety of our patients and staff is paramount and this new report is something we took immediate steps to act on as soon as we became aware of the risks.  We have been reducing the number of patients on the ward since last week and the remaining patients will complete their care with us on the ward in line with their needs.

“To limit the impact of the reduced availability of the beds across the system, we are discussing with our partners options for opening beds elsewhere and we will provide updates on this as soon as we are able.

“We would like to thank our staff, the fire service and our partners for their support.”

About Ellerbeck Ward
Elllerbeck Ward is a 14 bedded unit providing GP/nurse led medical, nursing, rehabilitation and end of life care.  Four beds have been closed for some time due to staffing issues.