Unions demand rethink over Lancashire hospital closure

IMPROVED: Calderstones Hospital
IMPROVED: Calderstones Hospital
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Unions are demanding a rethink over the planned closure of a Lancashire hospital after it earned a “good” rating from the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC found Calderstones Hospital in the Ribble Valley 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% 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 and the national NHS staff survey rated Calderstones close to, or at the top, of all mental health trusts.

“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 Partnership NHS Trust will cease to exist in July following heavy criticism in 2014, and its services are to be taken over by Mersey Care NHS Trust.

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.