Unions are demanding a rethink over the planned closure of Calderstones Hospital after it earned a “good” rating from the Care Quality Commission.
The CQC found the Whalley hospital had “caring, respectful staff”, “person-centred care”, “in depth knowledge” and “clean, tidy and well maintained wards” in its newly released report following a new inspection in October 2015.
An earlier report in 2014 had raised concerns over hygiene and the treatment and restraint of patients, leading to a recommendation for closure by NHS England.
The new report said the service met 100 per cent of national good practice criteria in four standard areas including relational security, safeguarding, physical healthcare and governance.
Environmental standards were well above the national average (in the high 90 per cents), and the national NHS staff survey rated Calderstones close to, or at the top, of all mental health trusts. Last year Calderstones was listed by the trade press as one of the best healthcare places to work.
“This report better reflects what the staff do and the service we provide,” said Chris Chamley, the hospital’s Unison branch secretary.
“It’s about time we had some good publicity after all the bad. The previous report highlighted failings of management rather than staff.
“It’s in the news this week that there’s a lack of mental health beds in the NHS, and Calderstones could meet that need.”
Calderstones currently provides medium secure, low secure and specialist services for people who present serious challenging or offending behaviour. Many are referred there by the courts.
Calderstones Partnership NHS Trust will cease to exist in July following heavy criticism of the hospital in 2014, and its services are to be taken over by Mersey Care NHS Trust. The hospital itself is listed for closure in three years.
Mr Chamley said Unison was seeking a joint meeting with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and the chiefs of both Mersey Care and Calderstones NHS trusts. “There needs to be an urgent rethink because we’re losing staff with all the uncertainty,” he said.
The 2014 report criticised Calderstones for using restraint excessively in parts of its secure service. Calderstones appointed Mersey Care’s Dr David Fearnley as joint medical director and Dr Tim Riding as programme lead.
Commenting on the CQC report, Calderstones chief executive Mark Hindle said: “The ‘Good’ score, in every category, is a powerful demonstration that we are ready for the next stage in delivering care for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Our staff have worked very hard to achieve this rating and credit must go to their dedication and professionalism.”