Agenda item

Briefing in relation to Mental Health Provision at QE Hospital

Report to follow


The Committee received a briefing paper outlining the modernisation of the Older Persons Mental Health inpatient ward (Sunniside) to provide a ward which meets CQC and Department of Health requirements to reduce domitory accommodation and provide each client with their own single room with ensuite.


The Sunniside Unit is a functional Mental Health ward based currently within the Tranwell Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. When it was first built, it was a modern mental health unit, with 3 dormitories with 3 beds in each and 7 side rooms. However, the type of ward is now not suitable for Older Person’s Mental Health needs and the Department of Health has committed to eradicating dormitories within inpatient mental health services. In July 2020, the Trust received notification from NHSE/I that funding was to be made available for Trusts to eradicate dormitories. The Trust submitted a bid in against this funding which was successful which will allow for the new Sunniside Ward to be built adjacent to and to the same standard as the Trust’s it’s Cragside organic mental health unit which was refurbished in 2019 to a high specification.


The Older Persons’ Mental Health pathway supports clients to remain in the community for care and treatment with the inpatient areas only used to support those clients in crisis who are unable to remain safely at home. Performance data identified from 1/11/2019 until 30/4/2020 shows that the average bed usage for Sunniside was 10-11 beds.


The new facility reflects the change in National policy direction in relation to the reduction if inpatient beds, opting for a more “community” focus aimed at keeping more patients within their own homes for care and support. In addition the Trust has dovetailed it’s provision to reflect the newly established “older persons Crisis Team” in collaboration with CNTW with the aim of providing intensive community support to further support clients who traditionally at one time would be admitted,  but now can safely remain at home. This has been successful in adult services in providing a high quality and safe service to enable clients to stay in the community and reduced the need for an inpatient stay. This is still in its infancy within the Gateshead Boundary for Older Persons’ but in looking at crisis services throughout the country there is a strong evidence bases that demonstrates the need for inpatient beds has reduced, with a more focussed approach on care in the community. The service is also working closely with the Local Authority Social Services Department to support patients’ needs to facilitate a timely discharge and support people at home to reduce admissions using excellent pathways and integrated system working.


A review was undertaken to identify if the current Sunniside footprint would be suitable to undergo a refurbishment to eradicate dormitories. However, owing to its linear footprint this would not eradicate mix sex accommodation breaches which breaches CQC regulations and is a risk the Trust carries. Space to build a new Sunniside Unit was secured next to Cragside. This will provide a 10 single room  ensuite purpose built new functional mental health ward, which will meet Department of Health and CQC regulations going forward. As the ward will be conjoined to Cragside this will also assist with any unprecedented surge in demand issues and assists in supporting safe cohort/outbreak management during infection outbreaks.


National guidance has changed to reflect the need for in patient mental health accommodation to abandon the old-style dormitory accommodation and modernise with single en-suite accommodation being available for all acute bed-based MH patients.


The OSC was advised that GHNFT has an excellent reputation for delivering high quality care and is delighted to be able to get this development underway to better service Gateshead residents.


The opportunity to bid for the funds to support the development of the facility to address the issues only began in July 2020 and over the last 6 months GHNFT with QEF colleagues have worked tirelessly  to get the application completed  and the detailed plans drawn up using a variety of expertise including feedback from patients/user/carers staff and system colleagues including the LA and CQC.


The process had been extremely challenging as the Trust was competing in a national process and must guarantee expenditure of the funds allocated within the current financial year, however they had been successful in this endeavour.


A group had been set up within the hospital to realise this project with input from the client group, ward staff, consultants, estates department, and management team. Whilst this group would be the steering group to support successful delivery of the building a number of stakeholder events are being planned to gain ideas and views of décor/colours/artwork etc. Neighbours to the build have been informed of the plans and ground works have commenced as the stipulation from NHSE/I was that the build must be completed  by end of March 2021. Whilst this is a tight timescale, the Trust and the staff are enthusiastic and committed to providing a high-quality  ward for the clients and for the staff to work in it.




That the information be noted



The Committee wished to place upon record their sincere thanks to all who have brought this to fruition and look forward to visiting the site in the near future, once COVID-19 restrictions allow.