A major transfer of mental health services between two providers could be delayed after the sudden closure of a psychiatric hospital in York.
Following an unannounced inspection earlier this month, the Care Quality Commission has ordered that all clinical services should be removed from Bootham Park Hospital by tomorrow night.
This was due to safety concerns, including a lack of call alarms for patients, poor hygiene and infection standards, and insufficient staffing numbers.
“I very much regret having to put in place such changes so quickly”
The listed status of the 18th century building also means it is “not possible to remove all potential ligature points”, the CQC added.
The building is a Grade I listed building, having been built in 1777 as the “County Lunatic Asylum, York”.
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the facility, was preparing to transfer its York-based services to Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust from 1 October, following a controversial tender process earlier this year.
In a statement issued on 29 September, Leeds and York Partnership said: “The trust is currently in discussion with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys on whether the transfer can still take place on this date.”
The hospital has 29 inpatient beds, and the trust is in the process of transferring patients to alternative facilities.
A CQC spokeswoman confirmed the provider was told to close the unit. She said the move followed concerns about safety risks not being addressed after they were raised by inspectors in a report published earlier this year following an inspection in autumn 2014.
The statement from Leeds and York Partnership said the trust had previously expressed “serious concerns” to the CQC about “repeated delays to the interim improvements to Bootham Park managed by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Property Services”.
In the statement, trust chief executive Chris Butler said: “I very much regret having to put in place such changes so quickly. This has been driven by the delays on the interim improvements at Bootham Park and we have been depending on other parts of the NHS to deliver these improvements.
“We relayed our concerns about the delays to NHS regulators and the secretary of state for health and we fully support the call for an investigation into these recent events,” he said.
“It is disappointing news, especially at such short notice. As commissioners, we understand that there are remaining issues to resolve in the Bootham Park Estate”
Mr Butler added: “We also have around 300 staff affected by the situation at Bootham Park. We are working alongside our trade union colleagues on a consultation to help us determine what options are available to them. We hope all these options will mean staff can remain within the Vale of York area.”
Michelle Carrington, chief nurse at Vale of York CCG, said the closure was “disappointing news, especially at such short notice”.
She said the CCG had made a commitment to provide a new facility, adding: “Until we could provide this new facility we have worked closely with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Property Services to deliver a tri-party improvement plan to significantly upgrade the facilities at Bootham Park Hospital.”
She said work completed since February 2014 had cost £1.76m, including an overhaul of the water hygiene system, a replacement main duct system and the removal of potential ligature points.
When asked about the transfer of services between the providers, the CCG said the parties are still working towards the new contract being signed.