Northampton hospital ward set to close, NHS staff told

Berrywood Hospital
Berrywood Hospital

A hospital ward in Northampton is set to close as the NHS seeks to make treatment “more efficient”.

NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare said it was considering closing Quayside ward at Berrywood Hospital, which takes patients recovering from mental health issues.

If the NHS can’t afford to look after these people properly then who can?

Member of NHS staff

The NHS said there were seven patients receiveing treatment there at the moment but it could handle up to nine at any one time.

It is possible that the service could be provided by a private company outside the Berrywood, which happens already with some services.

Richard McKendrick, chief operating officer at Northamptonshire Healthcare, said: “The current staff consultation on the closure of Quayside ward will review how we provide mental health rehabilitation services at NHFT.

“We are working with the Clinical Commissioning Groups, independent and third sector organisations to discuss how this service could be provided in the future.

“While there is a need to make the service more efficient, our ultimate aim is to improve and modernise patient experience.”

All the staff currently working on Quayside ward have been offered roles elsewhere in the trust there are no plans for compulsory redundancies.

But one NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare member of staff, who asked not to be named, said staff were worried about the effect on patients.

He said: “If the NHS can’t afford to look after these people properly then who can?

“No doubt a profit-making company will think it can take this on, but you have to ask yourself what the quality will be like.”

The rehabilitation service has seen a number of changes the last three years and has in the past been run by the NHS from Kingsthorpe.

It is a ‘step down’ mental health service for those people who have either had long placements out of county or are between hospital and going home.

A spokeswoman for NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare said: “The consultation proposes to close Quayside ward due to the changing needs of patients and increasing work with voluntary and private sector organisations to continue to provide care for those who need it within the community.

“Should the outcome of the consultation result in the closure of the ward, existing patients will continue to receive the care they need until they are ready to be discharged.

“Our focus is to enable patients to have a quick and smooth transition from our inpatient settings, back into the community and to manage this in the best way for our patients and staff in the face of changing needs and financial challenges.

“On-going patient care will not be affected. Our patients will be informed of the changes where appropriate and deemed non-detrimental to their recovery.”

Any members of the public who have queries or concerns about the changes to the services can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via 0800 917 8504 or pals@nhft.nhs.uk