Mental health bosses in Lincolnshire are planning to permanently close a Boston unit and replace it with home treatments.
Rochford Ward at Pilgrim Hospital was closed last year after Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust bosses felt it was no longer “fit for purpose” – with funding going to a Home Treatment Team set up during a previous refurbishment of Brant Ward in Lincoln.
Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee was told on Wednesday that bosses had consulted on letting the team provide a permanent county-wide service meaning Rochford would not be required at all.
A report before councillors showed a “significant” reduction of in-patient admissions with just 28 out of 394 referrals ending up in hospital – 7% of patients.
Jane Marshall, LPFT’s director of strategy, said it was “quite incredible”.
“We believed Rochford Ward at Pilgrim Hospital is no longer required, because we can do things in a different way, and better, and that ward was never a fit for purpose patient environment anyway.”
The amount of time patients spend out of the area for treatment is also down from 23 days to 14-and-a-half.
“Again that model of getting people back home as soon as we can back to Lincolnshire operates with the home treatment team as well,” said Jane.
The team, which includes a lead carer for each patient, can closely monitor patients’ mental health, provide support and manage medication from within their homes.
LPFT have also invested in refurbishing the Norton Lea site in Boston to create a mental health hub which will include some hospital beds.
Councillors raised some concerns over home care and the impact on carers, but were reassured there would be a “spectrum” of services provided and additional support was given to those supporting mental health patients.
Consultations on the plans found 92% agreed or strongly agreed with the proposals, with 36.11% saying it would have a positive impact.
Some consultation responses suggested that with increasing populations of over 65s in the next 20 years, it could be a “sticking plaster”.
However, bosses said there would be enough beds in place, particularly as Grantham re-opens from being a COVID-green site.