Inspectors criticise Bootham Park Hospital and Lime Trees unit in York

Bootham Park Hospital

Bootham Park Hospital

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by

MENTAL health hospitals in York are falling short of national standards and their ageing buildings are not suitable for modern treatment, inspectors have said.

Bootham Park Hospital and the Lime Trees unit for children and young people have been criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which says its routine inspections showed the buildings were not suitable or safe for patients.

In the 250-year-old listed building which houses Bootham Park, the inspectors found “ligature risks” on all three wards and had immediate concerns about patient safety in the unit.

At Lime Trees – which gives psychiatric care for young people aged under 18 – inspectors spotted ligature risks and found the hospital was not wheelchair accessible and did not comply with requirements for single sex accommodation.

The layout of the building was so unsuitable that patients who need wheelchair access could not be admitted to the unit, the report said.

The trust is already looking for alternative accommodation. Both units were assessed as needing to take action to ensure the safety and suitability of the environment for patients, and making sure the assessment and monitoring of the services was up to scratch. At Bootham Park the inspectors also said the record keeping needed to be improved.

The criticism is the latest blow for mental-health provision in York after revelations in November that more than £3million was spent in 2012 and 2013 sending York and Selby patients with mental-health problems to hospital beds elsewhere, including some hundreds of miles away.

A spokesman for the Leeds and York NHS Partnership Trust, which runs Bootham Park and Lime Trees, said it is working with the Vale of York CCG on plans to relocate Lime Trees.

He said: “We are working with our partners NHS Property Services, who own the premises, and have produced an action plan.

“Alongside this we are also doing all the essential work we are able to do within constraints, particularly of the Grade I listing status at Bootham Park Hospital.”

The CQC’s reports followed visits late last year. The trust had until Friday to write to the CQC outlining its plans to bring the hospitals up to standard before the inspectors revisit both hospitals in the coming months.

Senior executives at Leeds and York NHS Partnership Trust have already spoken of concerns about the accommodation at both Bootham Park and Lime Trees.

Last year chief operating officer Jill Copeland said they wanted to find a new home for Bootham Park’s services, either on the same site or elsewhere.

“We have got Bootham Park Hospital which is a really lovely old building, it’s a beautiful building, but it’s not the best place to care for people in 21st century mental health care so we’re looking to work with the Clinical Commissioning Group, who are keen on this as well, and the property service company which owns the building.

“What we’d ideally like is a new building, new accommodation built for people who need inpatient care.

“We want to be able to provide the best services we can for people who need to come into hospital care in modern facilities.

“If we could make that happen in the next few years that would be fantastic.”

The hospitals were assessed on several areas, and both were considered to meet standards in making sure patients consented to their care and treatment; ensuring the care and welfare of their service users; and in staffing levels.

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