A new mental health ward aimed exclusively for women requiring acute treatment is opening in Sleaford.
Ash villa is part of the county’s commitment to preventing patients with acute mental ill health needing to travel out of Lincolnshire for their care.
It will be opened by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) and will be reutilised to provide 15 additional acute treatment beds for women who are experiencing a severe, short-term episode of mental ill health and who can’t be safely supported by community based services.
This will complement existing adult acute mental health wards in Boston and Lincoln, where patients will receive their initial assessment.
Following a thorough assessment of people’s needs, where it is appropriate, female patients can then be transferred to the treatment ward at Ash Villa to receive their on-going support before discharge.
“The NHS has been in an unprecedented position over the last few months responding to the national coronavirus pandemic. This has had significant and long lasting impact on how the NHS and the Trust develop and deliver services now and in the future,” said Chris Higgins, Director of Operations.
“We have wanted to eliminate the number of patients travelling for acute care for some time and coronavirus has magnified this challenge.
Over the last two years we have had more females admitted to acute inpatient services than males and these additional beds will allow us flexibility across our entire adult acute inpatient services.”
Andy Rix, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Lincolnshire health and care system is committed to eliminating the inappropriate use of out of area hospital care for mental health patients by the end of March 2021, by improving access to local mental health and learning disability services for the people of Lincolnshire.
“We have been working with LPFT and other partners for some time on ambitious plans to improve inpatient accommodation and increase the types of mental health services offered in the county, and coronavirus has magnified this challenge.
“We know there is likely to be increasing demand for mental health services following the coronavirus pandemic, so we have worked quickly to agree additional ward capacity to support those with acute mental health needs as close to home as possible.”
The Trust will shortly start minor estate work to ensure the current building meets the needs of the service. Recruitment for a new ward team has already begun, with the plans of having the ward operational by the end of the year.
Work is also continuing with commissioners and other key stakeholders on the £7 million transformation of community mental health services which Lincolnshire received funding for last year.