A Bristol dementia ward has been “temporarily” closed for two months after a police investigation into the possible ill treatment of a patient.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust suddenly closed the Laurel Ward at Callington Road Hospital in Bristol on 15 June after what were described as “safety concerns” at the time.
The trust confirmed yesterday the closure came after a patient was locked in his room “for a short time”.
“Although they were not at risk of harm, the action was not in keeping with our values and culture. For that reason, pending a full investigation, the ward was closed with staff redeployed and patients moved to other beds within our area,” a trust spokesman said.
The incident triggered a police investigation under section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act into whether the patient was subjected to ill treatment or wilful neglect. The trust said the investigation found no offence had occurred.
The Laurel Ward provides assessment and treatment for people with organic mental health conditions. It has 16 beds for treating patients from the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area.
The ward, which was initially scheduled to close for two weeks, remains closed today with no fixed date for reopening.
The trust said the closure would also help address “environmental” shortcomings at the ward.
These issues were highlighted in a Care Quality Commission report last year, which called the Laurel Ward “bleak and sparse”. The ward was closed just weeks before the next CQC inspection was scheduled.
The trust’s board papers last month said a woman repeatedly complained after finding her father locked in his room at the ward. Previous attempts had been made to train staff that locking patients in their rooms was not appropriate but this “had not been embedded or the change affected”, the papers said.
The papers also showed “similar concerns” were raised about another ward at the hospital.
Staff that had worked at the Laurel Ward had received additional training but some nurses were “still extremely distressed” in the wake of the closure, the papers said.
The next CQC report about the trust is expected later this year.
Board papers; information provided to HSJ