Staff Shortage - Patients miss therapy (11.4.02)
This weeks Leader reports conditions on the Villa ward as having been called 'humiliating'.
The claim has been made by the independent West Sussex Mental Heaklth Information Project. Patients are going without proper treatment because there are not enough occupational therapists. Health bosses admit there is a shortage of staff at Villa Ward at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
They said a long running shortage of therapists has made dealing with patients more difficult but they were now doing what they could to improve conditions. There are about 35 patients on the ward and many have had no occupational therapy for several months. many spend most of the day left to their own devices instead of taking part in organised activities.
Therapists on the ward are working on a pilot scheme to concentrate their efforts on patients who are preparing to leave.
The project group is so concerned about the lack of occupational therapy available that it has contacted local MPs asking them to raise the problems with Health Secretary Alan Milburn and the Watchdog Commission for Health Improvement. Mid Downs Community Health Council is also worried about the staff shortage. Acting Chief Officer Carolyn Nurse said 'We have been calling for something to be done about the inequalities of occupational therapists in West Sussex. Some areas seem to have enough while we clearly need more. The ward itself is also not ideal as there is no room for group therapy , no quiet rooms and no space for physical exercise.'
All mental health services in the county are now run by the West Sussex Health and Social care Trust. Chief Executive Lisa Rodriguez said 'we would entirely agree the block is in urgent need of replacement. Facilities there do not support the best care in the 21st century and we are working with the local management team to develop a business case to replace it as soon as possible.' JH