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Riverside Unit

Posted on 17th November, 2004

Devon Partnership NHS Trust has announced that it proposes to temporarily suspend the service provided at Torquay’s Riverside Unit because of concerns about the quality of care and the safety of staff and patients. A proposal to suspend the service from 1st December 2004 will be submitted at the Trust’s Board meeting on 30th November. Commenting on the issue, Interim Chief Executive, Iain Tulley, said:  “Since my arrival at the Trust I have looked into a number of issues, including the concerns surrounding services at the Riverside Unit.  It became immediately apparent that a number of factors were bringing the safety and quality of services at the unit into question and the only responsible way to proceed is to suspend the service temporarily.     “We have talked the issue through with our staff and other local stakeholders and I recognise, of course, that this decision will cause inconvenience to patients, carers and staff within South Devon in the short term.  However, our overriding objective in everything we do must be to ensure the provision of high quality, safe services. “We have explained the situation to the Primary Care Trusts that commission services at the Riverside Unit and, while they are understandably disappointed and very keen for the service to be resumed as soon as possible, they acknowledge that we have no other option at this stage than to temporarily suspend it. “During the suspension of the service, we will redeploy our staff to strengthen other units.  In the coming months, we will develop a clear specification for the unit and will seek to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of appropriately trained staff so that, when the service is resumed, it is clearly defined, adequately resourced and fully staffed.” A wide range of issues has been identified in relation to the role, function and operation of the Riverside Unit.  Among these are recruitment and retention of staff, capacity, occupancy levels, health and safety issues, human rights issues and the ability of the unit to operate effectively as a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and to meet the required standards and service specification. The aim is for the service at the Riverside Unit to be recommissioned and operational from April 2005.