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Temporary suspension of services at Riverside Unit

Posted on 1st December, 2004

Following its Board meeting yesterday, Devon Partnership NHS Trust has confirmed that it will temporarily suspend the service provided at Torbay’s Riverside Unit because of concerns about the quality of care and the safety of staff and patients. Commenting on the decision, Elaine Leitch, Director of Mental Health Services for South and West Devon, said:  “We recognise all too well that this decision will cause inconvenience and concern for some patients, carers and staff in the short term, but our overriding objective in everything we do must be to ensure the provision of high quality, safe services.  I would emphasise, once again, that this decision has nothing to do with money and everything to do with safety. “There are currently 12 patients at the Riverside Unit and we are already talking to them and their families about making appropriate alternative arrangements for their care and treatment.  Over the next few weeks, we will be identifying exactly where each patient will go and this decision will be based upon the clinical needs of individuals, availability of beds in other local units and a desire to minimise the inconvenience caused to families and carers through having to travel longer distances. “Some informal patients are due to be discharged from the unit in the next few weeks and they will be discharged in the normal way.  We have identified that alternative care arrangements outside this area will need to be made for three of the patients and we will be exploring NHS and private sector alternatives for the other patients.” 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.
Note to editors
The Riverside Unit is a 12 bedded unit providing in-patient care predominantly for adults of working age in the most acute phase of a mental illness. Ends 112/04
For further information contact Peter Leggatt on 01392 208693