North Manchester General Hospital shuts ward because of ‘staffing pressures’

Dementia patients moved 12 MILES as North Manchester General Hospital shuts ward because of ‘staffing pressures’

Move means a cut in the number of beds available across city as union expresses concern for impact on vulnerable men and their families


Elderly patients with dementia have been moved 12 miles across Manchester after NHS bosses shut their ward.

Bosses at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust say they have temporarily closed Cedar Ward at North Manchester General Hospital and have now moved the beds across town to Wythenshawe Hospital.

They say the decision was taken to address ‘staffing pressures’ on the ward, which treats elderly men for conditions including dementia.

The ward’s closure means the trust’s Park House facility at North Manchester has lost 20 beds.

Only 15 beds have been moved to Wythenshawe – a loss of five beds to the city’s mental health provision overall.

Trade union leaders say they are concerned about the impact of move on patients and their families. There are also concerns about extra pressure being put on staff.

James Rupa, regional organiser for Unison, said: “This closure marks a reduction in the availability of beds for mental health later-life care in Greater Manchester.

“Many of the region’s NHS trusts are under great financial pressure and this is having a real impact on the availability of care.

“We need safe staffing levels and sufficient qualified staff to provide high quality care.

“Unison is concerned about the impact of this closure on vulnerable people and their families and we will work to protect our members through this difficult time.”

Trust board papers say concerns were raised earlier this year about patient safety on Cedar Ward after the introduction of men under the age of 65 and there has been a problem attracting new staff.

north-manchester-to-wythenshawe-map-copyThe journey from North Manchester General Hospital to Wythenshawe Hospital by public transport

A review has also been taking place about the provision of later-life beds in the city.

The trust say Cedar Ward is due to reopen later this year.

Anita Rolfe, the trust’s chief nurse, said the trust was working closely with patients, their families, trade unions and staff.

She said: “The board has taken the decision to temporarily close Cedar Ward and move to two specialist later-life wards to address temporary service and staffing pressures.

“This decision will ensure the continued safety of patients and allow us to maintain the high quality service on which we pride ourselves.

“The trust will also be further developing its community services.”

Credit: Dean Kirby Health Correspondent Manchester Evening News

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