REGULATION: A major transfer of mental health services between two providers could be delayed after the sudden closure of a psychiatric hospital in York.

Following an unannounced inspection earlier this month, the Care Quality Commission has ordered that all clinical services should be removed from Bootham Park Hospital by tonight.

This was due to safety concerns, including a lack of call alarms for patients, poor hygiene and infection standards, and insufficient staffing numbers. The listed status of the 18th century building also means it is “not possible to remove all potential ligature points”, the regulator added.

Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs the facility, was preparing to transfer its York based services to Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Trust from tomorrow, following a controversial tender process earlier this year.

Leeds and York Partnership said in a statement: “The trust is currently in discussion with TEWV on whether the transfer can still take place on this date.”

The hospital has 29 inpatient beds, and the trust is in the process of transferring patients to alternative facilities.

A CQC spokeswoman confirmed the provider was told to close the unit. She said this followed concerns about safety risks not being addressed after inspectors raised them last year.

The statement from the FT said it had previously expressed “serious concerns” to the CQC about “repeated delays to the interim improvements to Bootham Park managed by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Property Services”.

Chief executive Chris Butler added: “I very much regret having to put in place such changes so quickly. This has been driven by the delays on the interim improvements at Bootham Park and we have been depending on other parts of the NHS to deliver these improvements.

“We relayed our concerns about the delays to NHS regulators and the health secretary, and we fully support the call for an investigation into these recent events.”

Michelle Carrington, chief nurse for Vale of York CCG, said the closure was “disappointing news, especially at such short notice”. She said the CCG had made a commitment to provide a new facility. She added: “Until we could provide this new facility we have worked closely with Leeds and York Partnership FT and NHS Property Services to deliver a tri-party improvement plan to significantly upgrade the facilities at Bootham Park Hospital.”

She said work completed since February last year had cost £1.76m, including an overhaul of the water hygiene system, a replacement main duct system and the removal of potential ligature points. 

When asked about the transfer of services between the providers, the CCG said the parties were still working towards the new contract being signed.

NHS Property Services has been approached for comment.