Bakewell mental health ward closing due to nurse shortage

The Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell will close its doors on Wednesday, August 23, due to a shortage of specialist nurses, ongoing recruitment issues, and low levels of patient admissions.
The Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell will close its doors on Wednesday, August 23, due to a shortage of specialist nurses, ongoing recruitment issues, and low levels of patient admissions.

A Bakewell hospital ward offering mental health care for older people is to close next week due to a staffing shortage in specialist nursing roles.

The Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital will close on Wednesday, August 23.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust say the move follows a lengthy deliberation on how best to ensure safe staffing levels amid issues with nurse recruitment.

Chief operating officer William Jones said: “Recruitment challenges to specific clinical roles are being felt across the whole of the NHS.

“Our older people’s mental health service has recently struggled to maintain staffing levels across all four of our older people’s mental health wards and we are expecting the challenge to become more severe imminently, as staff move on.”

He added: “We need to minimise potential staffing risks. Even with this measure we will not fill all the vacancies we currently have in mental health nursing.”

Riverside has routinely had more than half of its 10 beds empty at any one time over recent years.

It currently has four patients, who will be transferred away from Bakewell to the trust’s other three specialist older people’s mental health care wards.

Two are at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield and another at Cavendish Hospital in Buxton.

Most staff from Riverside will also be redeploying to these three wards.

William said: “In no way does this detract from the excellent care which Riverside staff members deliver.

“We are very grateful for their support, commitment. As a team, they have provided dedicated care to patients and families over the years and their skills and experience will continue to be vital to us going forward.”

William added: “We will be working to develop a pilot dementia rapid response team and colleagues from Riverside will play an important part.”

The closure is said to be unrelated to the recent Better Care Closer to Home consultation carried out by North Derbyshire and Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Groups.