Boniface Ward, Crediton Hospital

Posted on 12th April, 2007

Devon Partnership NHS Trust has announced that there will be a temporary suspension of the inpatient service provided on Boniface Ward at Credition Hospital from the end of this month.  The daycare service will continue unchanged. Boniface is a six-bed ward that provides a service for older people with an organic mental illness (generally people suffering with confusion or dementia).  Commenting on the decision, Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Neil Jackson said:  “We announced a review of the service provided on Boniface Ward last summer and, since then, we have been working closely with Devon Primary Care Trust (which commissions the service) and other stakeholders to explore the practical issues surrounding the safe running of the ward and to see how we can improve the overall quality of the service. “The key issues are around low bed occupancy - which has been below 50 per cent over the past year - and our ability to provide appropriately trained and qualified nursing staff at all times on the ward - something that has been identified as a cause for concern by the Healthcare Commission. “Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, the situation regarding trained and qualified nursing staff for the ward has deteriorated significantly and it will shortly become unsustainable.  Our overriding priority has to be the safety and wellbeing of patients and, for this reason, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend the inpatient service for older people with an organic mental illness. “We will be continuing to review the long-term future of the service while it is suspended and, in due course, will be actively seeking further views from local people and putting forward proposals for a more sustainable and joined-up service that really meets older people’s needs. “I want to reassure local people that our overriding priority is to provide access to high quality services for older people with mental health needs.  As the bed occupancy figures show, we are only talking about a very small number of people, but it is important to understand that adequate local services will still be in place while the usual inpatient service on Boniface Ward is suspended.  “People with severe mental health needs will have access to other local specialist facilities in Exeter, Tiverton and Okehampton – as they do already.  It is also important to point out that the seven-day daycare service at the hospital will continue unchanged.  Wherever possible, staff from Boniface Ward will be redeployed to provide additional care and support in the local community or at home.”  Sally Slade, Devon Primary Care Trust’s interim Director of Service Provision, added: “Devon Partnership NHS Trust has informed us of the decision to temporarily suspend the service due to important safety issues. As commissioners, we listen very carefully to the organisations that provide services on our behalf and as this is an unavoidable operational decision we fully understand. The safety of patients has to be absolutely paramount.  We would like to reassure people living in Crediton and the surrounding areas that the suspension of inpatient mental health services at the hospital will have no impact on the day-to-day running of other services at the hospital, nor will it affect its viability.”