Two mental health wards at Southmead Hospital are set to close – but the care will be provided in another part of Bristol.
The old-fashioned wards at Southmead Hospital do not meet current standards so patients will benefit from more modern facilities at Callington Road Hospital, a local health committee heard on Wednesday (January 26).
Oakwood is a 23-bed ward for adults with acute mental health needs, the meeting heard.
Mason ward is a designated “health-based place of safety” for adults and young people who have been picked up by police under the Mental Health Act.
Oakwood ward is “cramped”, has “very little therapy space” and “poor observation lines including corridor tee junctions and dog-legs”, according to a report to the meeting.
Mason ward is designed for keeping patients in for up to 72 hours, rather than the current expected maximum of 24 hours, and its location means there are “sometimes” issues with patients turning up at the main hospital or emergency department “unnecessarily”, the report added.
Peter Tilley, deputy finance director at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, told the South Gloucestershire health overview and scrutiny committee there were several good reasons to shift the services to Callington Road Hospital.
Patients will benefit from a better care environment, it should be easier to recruit permanent staff to a facility that is modern rather than old and outdated, and it is better for patients and staffing to have inpatient mental health care services in one place, he said.
Moreover, it would take a “significant amount of work” and cost around £9million to bring the two wards at Southmead up to standard, Mr Tilley said.
The trust’s plans for the relocation of “core” mental health inpatient services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will be funded by £7.5million of government funding if they are approved by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Mr Tilley said work would start at the end of this year and finish in 2024 if the plans get the green light.
The total number of mental health inpatient beds in the region would not change, but would stay the same at 74, according to a report to the meeting.
Committee members gave their unanimous support for the plans.