Westmorland psychiatric unit to close following safety concerns

Westmorland General Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The trust said there would be no redundancies when the unit closed

A psychiatric unit is to close after health bosses "exhausted" efforts to improve safety issues raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It found Kentmere inpatient unit at Westmorland General Hospital, Cumbria did not meet national standards and placed those using services "at risk".

The 12-bed ward treats people with acute psychiatric conditions.

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron, said it would be "absolutely outrageous" to lose the ward.

The report, published in March, outlined that the Kentmere Unit and associated Health Based Place of Safety did not meet the expected standards set out in national guidance, including same sex accommodation.

This "placed people who use these services at risk and did not provide an environment which supported good care and treatment".

'Utterly unacceptable'

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it was a "longstanding issue" which it had tried to improve over a number of years but "all possible options" had been "exhausted".

The trust said the CQC "validated its concerns" that the alterations that had been made were "not sustainable" and that should not continue to be tolerated.

Lib Dem MP Mr Farron said it would be an "outrage" for people to have to travel for mental health services and he "strongly supports" making changes and upgrading the ward to make it safer for patients.

He said: "The one thing that is utterly unacceptable is any thought that we would close mental health services in Kendal and lose ward 4."

The unit is expected to permanently close by the end of June.

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