Healthcare bosses have confirmed patients in the Rochford mental health ward in Boston have been moved to units in Lincoln and Grantham to help ease the strain on Pilgrim Hospital.
A spokesman for Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which deals with mental health, social care and specialist community services, across the county has said it made the ‘short-term’ move to ‘assist with the continued work to ease pressure on local hospitals’.
It said: “Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the Rochford Unit in Pilgrim Hospital, has been working to free up the use of this existing specialist older adult mental health unit, as a temporary measure.
“The unit will help discharge predominately elderly frail people, who have been assessed fit for discharge from United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust sites around Lincolnshire and are awaiting short term community social care support at home.”
They added: “The decision to change ward use has not been taken lightly and is in response to the unprecedented need locally requiring all local health and social care organisations to work together to ease pressure. This change in use will be a temporary measure until demands on local services ease.”
The ward’s existing patients, who have a mixture of dementia and associated complex needs, have been moved ‘comparable units’ in Grantham and Lincoln.
A total of 13 patients have been moved from the ward which has 17 beds.
The spokesman added: “Carers and relatives of these patients have been informed and supported; including enabling them to continue to visit their loved ones during this time.”
The trust moved to reassure the public that it would not be transferring ‘high risk patients’ which could have a detrimental effect to their health needs.
A spokesman said the Care Quality Commission has been consulted.
They said the unit will continue to be manned by the existing staff and no additional resources will be required.
It will offer temporary accommodation and care until the community services become available and patients can be discharged with appropriate support.
Pilgrim Hospital is currently on ‘black alert’ due to the sheer strain on services.
The alert reflects the highest level possible for how many patients it is currently having to treat.