PATIENT SAFETY: Detectives have launched an investigation into the circumstances of a patient’s death at a learning disability unit in Lincolnshire.

The Long Leys Court inpatient unit, run by Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, has been temporarily closed by the trust and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group amid “concerns surrounding the quality of care being provided.”

Nursing home

Patients have been discharged or transferred to alternative community and residential services

A statement from Lincolnshire Police yesterday said: “Lincolnshire Police are investigating the exact circumstances into the death of a 69-year-old male who has died following his admission into Lincoln County Hospital.  A Home Office post mortem will be carried out in the next few days.

It added: “We are currently working very closely with [the trust] and the Lincolnshire Adults Safeguarding Board around all of the incidents at Long Leys Court.”

There had been a number of “serious incidents” at the unit which have highlighted concerns, according to a trust statement announcing the closure, which said that despite “intensive action and support” its board and the CCG said they did not feel the unit could “currently provide sufficiently high quality care for patients”.

John Brewin, chief executive of Lincolnshire Partnership FT, said: “There have been three serious incidents in the past couple of months – two of which we’ve felt necessary to refer to the police.”

He added: “We would like to apologise to the patients, carers and families who may be affected by this decision and reassure everyone that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“Both the trust and commissioners share the view that this temporary closure is in the best interests of people with a learning disability, who often have complex needs and for whom we have a duty to ensure that the care they receive is of the highest quality,” he said. 

Long Leys Court is described on the trust’s website as offering assessment and treatment for adults with learning disabilities who also have related healthcare needs, including mental health issues, complex epilepsy, and challenging behaviours that may have an impact on their mental wellbeing.

New admissions have stopped with immediate effect and existing patients have been discharged or transferred to alternative services, either in the community or in residential settings.

The trust said it would be working closely with patients, carers and their families to do “everything possible” to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Closing the unit will “enable a revised service model to be put in place for the future”, with a greater emphasis on community provision and less dependence on bed based care.

The unit falls within one of the regions earmarked to take the lead in a wave of learning disability facility closures being introduced under the Transforming Care programme.

Updated on Wednesday 10 June 2015 to include details of the police investigation.