‘What will happen to dementia patients?’ ask Townsend Court Staff

Townsend Court
Townsend Court

Fears are mounting for dementia patients at Townsend Court , Houghton Regis, as plans aim to relocate them across the county.

Staff at Townsend Court’s Elder People Dementia Assessment Unit, are “very concerned” by the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) plans which propose to disband the elderly patients around different units within the ELFT, some “as far as Fountain Court, Bedford.”

Weller Wing

Weller Wing

The “worrying” move has been proposed because the Trust wish to relocate their teams and services at Keats Ward, Weller Wing, Bedford Hospital, to other locations, including Townsend Court.

Concerned Townsend Court staff said: “We are very worried about this closure.

“To think of spreading our patients throughout units that cater for different mental illness and ages is so very wrong.

“We have serious concern that younger, physically fit people, with sometimes violent outbursts, could harm a more fragile elderly person.”

The Townsend staff also claim they were not consulted until January 5 and that families from the Dementia Assessment Unit have still not been consulted

They said: “Townsend Court even received a 100% pass rate from CQC in July 2016 . There will not be redundancies, but what is happening to our jobs?”

An ELFT spokesman said: “Weller Wing has long been recognised as an unsuitable environment for providing inpatient mental health care and our proposal is to relocate the ward to Townsend Court in Houghton Regis.

“The relocation project would also involve our under-utilised Older Adults service for patients with dementia at Townsend Court, a service across Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough.

“The patients, who receive short-term acute care, will subsequently be cared for by specialist staff at Fountains Court in Bedford Health Village or supported back into the community.

“Dementia patients will always be supported by trained staff who understand how to care for them. Our staff have been fully informed throughout the process. Changes are for the short term - we’re working towards a long-term plan of how acute mental health care is provided.”