Borders dementia ward ‘unfit for purpose’

Mental Welfare Commission report highlights concerns about NHS Borders General ward earmarked for closure

Friday 23rd August 2019

A dementia ward has been branded ‘unfit for purpose’ by Scotland’s mental health watchdog.

The Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) raised concerns about Cauldshiels ward at Borders General Hospital after an announced inspection carried out in June.

The report says it was escalating the issues highlighted to the chief executive of NHS Borders, Ralph Roberts.

However, earlier this month NHS Borders announced a shake-up of dementia services, including the closure of Cauldshiels ward.

The MWC inspection report said: ‘Cauldshiels remains unfit for purpose, despite efforts made by nursing staff who attempt to make it more dementia friendly.

‘In particular the lighting in corridors and most bedrooms is poor. There is one bathroom shared by 10 patients of mixed gender.

‘There are many doors leading to cupboards and non-accessible rooms, which could be painted to blend in with the walls, minimising confusion.

‘We raised this concern in previous reports and at a recent meeting with senior managers. We were told that is due to financial constraints linked to the service transformation work. We will be escalating this matter to the chief executive of NHS Borders.’

Speaking when the change in dementia services was announced, Rob McCulloch-Graham, chief officer for NHS Borders Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “In the coming weeks, patients who are currently being cared for in the one of our dementia inpatient wards will either be transferred  to Melburn Lodge, home, or to a more suitable provision within the community which will be much more appropriate for their needs.

“As a result the bed capacity in Cauldshiels ward will no longer be required, and the model of care within Melburn Lodge will be reset to include assessment and treatment.”