Isle of Wight dementia patients remain on mainland after ward closure

Image source, Mark Pilbeam
Image caption,
The Shackleton Ward at St Mary's Hospital in Newport was previously rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission

Dementia patients from the Isle of Wight are still being cared for on the mainland, 15 months after a specialist ward on the island closed.

The Shackleton Ward at Newport's St Mary's Hospital was closed "indefinitely" last September after being rated inadequate.

Isle of Wight Healthwatch said it was "unacceptable" that patients were still being placed in mainland facilities.

Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it was working to "absolutely minimise" it.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found the ward was "not dementia friendly" and it closed in April 2019 for 12 weeks.

It underwent a £200,000 revamp but was closed temporarily last August due to a lack of staff, before being permanently closed.

Four patients, with dementia and complex mental health needs, remain off the island, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Joanna Smith, of Isle of Wight Healthwatch, said it was "not acceptable".

'Real challenges'

"It is difficult enough for anyone to have to face treatment off-island but when you have got significant problems due to dementia or Alzheimer's [disease] they are compounded," she told Isle of Wight Council's policy and scrutiny committee for health and social care.

Dr Lesley Stevens, of Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said a plan would be worked up within the next six months to determine the future of dementia care on the island.

It is expected to include the provision of a community-based service in a bid to minimise hospital admissions.

"The outcome we want to achieve is to stop or absolutely minimise sending people off-island to mainland beds," Dr Stevens said.

However, he admitted there were "real challenges in delivering highly-specialised, very small services that are isolated" and that "improves outcomes and is safe".

He said the trust's dementia outreach team was working closely with the families and was a "really critical part" of the new work.

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