A learning disability unit in Lincolnshire has been temporarily closed due to “concerns surrounding the quality of care being provided”.
The decision to shut the Long Leys Court inpatient unit in Lincoln was made public on Friday by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
There have been a number of “serious incidents” at the unit recently which have highlighted concerns, said a statement on the closure.
“There have been a number of serious incidents at the unit recently which have highlighted concerns”
Despite “intensive action and support” from the trust and externally, its board and CCG said they did not feel the unit could “currently provide sufficiently high quality care for patients”.
Dr John Brewin, chief executive of Lincolnshire Partnership, said: “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 decribed by 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.
All new admissions have ceased with immediate effect and existing patients have been discharged or transferred to alternative services, either in the community or in alternative 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.
The temporary closure 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 trust also runs a number of community services for people with learning disabilities at Long Leys Court, including community assertive support, which will not be affected by the temporary closure.
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.
As reported by Nursing Times last month, widespread plans to close inpatient facilities for people with learning disabilities will be implemented in the Midlands and East, and North regions of England in the coming months before being rolled out to other parts of the country.
Proposals for the closure programme of institutions deemed inappropriate were put forward last year in an independent report following the abuse scandal at the Winterbourne View home, which was uncovered in a TV documentary in 2011.