An Aberdeen hospital ward for people with acute mental illness is to close due to an ongoing staffing crisis.
The Brodie Ward at Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital will close from tomorrow in an effort to ease “workforce challenges”.
Beds and staff will be spread across five wards instead of the current six in a move hospital bosses accept could be “unsettling”.
NHS Grampian today said none of the wards affected by the latest temporary closure are operating at their full bed capacity.
Loirston ward and Lochhead Day Hospital – which were helping 38 dementia patients – shut amid warnings from hospital bosses that “more difficult decisions” would be ahead unless more mental health nurses could be recruited.
Typically patients are admitted with an episode of acute mental illness. They will undergo treatment and be discharged once recovered. The length of stay varies but is on average around three weeks.
Families and carers of those affected have also been invited to meet members of the management team at the hospital to discuss next steps.
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A patient at the hospital, who did not wish to be named, said: “I was told in the morning that I would be moving that afternoon.
“It may affect my recovery because the staff in the ward know me and we have built up relationships over the years.
“There are a lot of unwell people here and the nurses know by now what triggers them and what soothes them, so these changes might be difficult for them.
“The staff are very upset too. Some have worked here for up to 13 years. I’ll be getting discharged soon and after this news, I can’t wait to leave.”
Jane Fletcher, head of hosted mental health and learning disability services, said: “We are working with staff to plan this change.
“Any change is unsettling but the safety of patients and staff is our main priority.
“This is a temporary move and we expect staffing levels to improve in the coming months as graduate nurses take up employment at the hospital.
“We are also committed to improving the safety of the ward environment and have already spent £1.45 million on Huntly ward.
“Over the next two-and-a-half years we will invest a further £9m to bring all acute admission wards up to the same standard.”