January 26, 2022 3.23 pm This story is over 22 months old

‘Unsafe’ Lincoln hospital to close after ‘lack of staff’ compromised care for disabled

The centre was placed under special measures last year

A learning disability and mental health hospital near Lincoln is to close in the coming months, less than half a year after being placed in special measures following understaffing and poor leadership concerns.

Healthlinc House in Welton, run by Elysium Healthcare Limited, is part of the company’s learning disability and autism division, providing care and support for adults with learning difficulties and/or mental health requirements.

On the site are a series of residential properties, as well as the hospital, designed for rehabilitation into everyday life post-treatment and allowing for the development of daily living skills.

In July 2021, the service was placed in special measures after an unannounced inspection from the Care Quality Commission found the service to be ‘inadequate’, with a shortage of suitable staff to deliver the correct care, ensuring people’s wellbeing.

Now, the hospital side of Healthlinc House will close down at some point in 2022, with Elysium Healthcare saying the lack of available care staff through the COVID-19 pandemic made it “impossible to provide a service to the high standard we expect”.

It is believed that around 100 members of staff will be affected by the closure, but the residential properties will be unaffected by the hospital shutting down, as the provider attempts to redeploy existing staff at the neighbouring services.

According to the Elysium Healthcare website, each service at HealthLinc House is staffed by “an experienced team of professional managers, support workers and nurses”, each having a team of clinical psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, as well as speech and language therapists.

A CQC inspection at HealthLinc House, published on January 12, 2022, found the service failed to provide safe care, with unsafe and dirty ward environments and food hygiene issues in two kitchens.

General management and maintenance of the hospital “remained a concern” according to the report, with more work needed to ensure wellbeing and privacy of patients.

The hospital was scored inadequate in the safety and leadership inspection areas, while caring and levels of response were found to have required improvement, and the CQC website states that a review of quality is currently underway.

It did, however, say staffing levels were sufficient and the relevant training had been delivered to staff, with oversight from regional management teams.

The CQC has confirmed to The Lincolnite that the decision to close the premises was that of the provider, and not by the Care Quality Commission following their recent inspections.

A spokesperson for Elysium Healthcare said: “We regret to announce that we have begun the process of closing Healthlinc House Hospital in Welton, Lincolnshire.

“Like many healthcare providers, the hospital has been hit hard by the lack of availability of qualified and experienced care staff during the pandemic, and it has sadly become impossible to provide a service to the high standard we expect.

“Despite our best efforts over a sustained period, we have taken the difficult decision to close the service in the best interests of the people we care for.

“We are now working closely with families, and our stakeholders, to ensure a smooth transition for those in our care.

“Meanwhile, we are supporting existing staff to stay within the company, either in the neighbouring services of Healthlinc Apartments and The Cottage, or at our other close by sites. We are grateful to our staff for their continuing dedication.”