Kentmere unit to stay open

The Board of Directors at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has decided that the Kentmere Ward at Westmorland General Hospital will remain open at its Board meeting today, pending formal consultation of adult mental health inpatient services due to commence later this year.  The decision follows the findings of a fuller assessment of the urgency of quality and safety concerns which recommended that the ward should remain open in the short term.
 
Claire Molloy, Chief Executive of CPFT said: “Whilst we acknowledge that Kentmere does not meet the standards of modern mental health inpatient care, we are satisfied that the actions taken over the past few months are managing the risks posed by the environment on a short term basis. We have also reviewed the risk of putting in place an alternative service if the ward was to temporarily close, and have concluded that the risk of closing the ward temporarily is greater than keeping it open.  
 
“The feedback from service users, carers, staff, the local MP, our partners and the local community has provided valuable insights and contributed to the decision to keep the ward open. I would like to take this opportunity to thank in particular our staff who have taken the time to tell us what they think, and Healthwatch Cumbria who helped us to listen to the views of the local community.  It is clear from the feedback that the staff who work on Kentmere are highly valued and there has been much praise for the kind and compassionate care they provide.  
 
“However the Trust is clear that the environment does not meet the standards that we want for service users in Cumbria, and the actions that we have taken so far do not address the issues relating to safety, access to outside space, & same sex accommodation on a sustainable, long term basis. We will feed our position into a review of the broader adult mental health inpatient service model which will be considered in a formal consultation process led by NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group later this year.” 
 
Dr Andrew Brittlebank, Medical Director for CPFT added: “We are now focussing on training staff in the different skill sets that are needed to provide a more comprehensive home treatment service. This will ensure that we are in the best possible position to provide the services we are commissioned for and the best possible contemporary care for our service users now and in the future.”
 
The Health Scrutiny Committee also considered and welcomed the recommended course of action for the Kentmere Ward at their meeting earlier this week.
 
The report which was presented to the Board is available online at www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk as part of the board papers.