Mental health chiefs in Norfolk have performed a rapid U-turns on plans to suspend new admissions to the Fermoy unit in Lynn.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) had announced last week that due to low staffing levels at the unit, which is next to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, it would be temporarily closed to new admissions.
but last night, Debbie White, director of operations for Norfolk at the trust, said: “Following a positive meeting with West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) we have agreed that Fermoy Unit, in King’s Lynn, is now safe to open to new admissions from tomorrow (Wednesday).
“There are still no plans in place to close Fermoy. Instead, the 20-bed unit will run with 15 beds open for the time being, as we have adequate numbers of staff in place to maintain safe services.
“If demand is greater than our 15-bed capacity, additional patients will be offered services in Mundesley Hospital, in Gimmingham, Hellesdon Hospital, in Norwich, or Northgate Hospital, in Great Yarmouth.”
Debbie said that a project group, comprising CCG representatives and NSFT managers and clinical leads, would continue to work together and will be developing a series of local engagement workshops.
These would involve patients, carers, commissioners, third sector organisations and other key stakeholders, such as GPs. The aim will be to collectively develop a set of options around mental health inpatient provision in west Norfolk, addressing how to meet ever increasing demands set alongside local, and national, staff shortages.
“Our trust will continue to work closely with our commissioners to look at all of the long term options for inpatient mental health services in west Norfolk. The safety and needs of our patients, and our staff, will remain central to whatever decision is made.
“In the meantime, we continue to mitigate any staff shortages at the unit and we are actively looking to recruit more permanent staff across both Norfolk and Suffolk.”
The Fermoy unit offers a seven days a week inpatient and crisis home treatment service for those with severe mental illess or you are in an acute mental health crisis. It also provides a drug and alcohol detoxification service in collaboration with the Norfolk Recovery Partnership service.