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Trust to close dementia ward due to lack of mental health nurses

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is to close a dementia ward after struggling to recruit nurses. 
dementia

An NHS trust is closing a dementia ward because of difficulty recruiting registered mental health nurses.

In July, the seven-bed Magnolia Ward at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will close on a temporary basis.

The trusts chief operating officer Andy Heron said: We have been monitoring nursing vacancies closely at Magnolia Ward over the past year as the team struggled to recruit mental health nurses from the surrounding area and further afield.

Having exhausted all recruitment possibilities, we were becoming increasingly concerned about our ability to maintain safe nursing levels on every shift at Magnolia Ward, and also our increasing reliance on agency staff who do not always know the patients or the ward environment as well as permanent staff when they cover a

An NHS trust is closing a dementia ward because of difficulty recruiting registered mental health nurses.

dementia
There has been a 10% decline in mental health nurses in the UK
over the past five years. Picture: iStock

In July, the seven-bed Magnolia Ward at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will close on a temporary basis.

The trust’s chief operating officer Andy Heron said: ‘We have been monitoring nursing vacancies closely at Magnolia Ward over the past year as the team struggled to recruit mental health nurses from the surrounding area and further afield. 

‘Having exhausted all recruitment possibilities, we were becoming increasingly concerned about our ability to maintain safe nursing levels on every shift at Magnolia Ward, and also our increasing reliance on agency staff who do not always know the patients or the ward environment as well as permanent staff when they cover a shift.’ 

End of uncertainty

He adds: ‘We decided to end the ongoing uncertainty and to temporarily consolidate older peoples’ inpatient beds to one site in Somerset.’

A trust spokesperson said the five nurses who currently work on the ward will be deployed elsewhere in the organisation and at other sites in the area.

There has been a 10% decline in mental health nurses in the UK over the past five years.

In February, a Foundation of Nursing Studies review of mental health nursing in the UK raised concerns about front-line services and funding.


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