Bristol mental health services move after colonized water supply and patient safety risks

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A water supply colonized by bacteria is driving a £10.5million project to relocate mental health services across Bristol.

Faced with a £2million bill after legionella was detected in older buildings at Southmead Hospital in 2016, staff installed expensive micro-filters on every tap, rinsed them frequently and rigorously monitored the water temperatures, but it’s not sustainable, according to a business case.

The issue affects all Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) services at the hospital, but is limited to its area there, which is also suffering from a £3.3million maintenance backlog and risks to patients from potential ligation points and poor sight lines. it means that the problems are getting worse before they can be fixed.

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Its seven-mile move to smaller wards at Callington Road Hospital in Brislington – maintaining the same number of beds – “will be significantly more efficient in treating patients, with a more relaxed management style, fewer” points pressure “in common areas, the less the opportunity or temptation to engage in negative behaviors such as escalation, self-harm or aggression”.

A business case approved by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire on March 1 said: “This revised setup will reduce the length of stay for patients through an improved therapeutic environment and will thus promote an increase in patient throughput.



The AWP buildings in Southmead. AWP.

“This reduced length of stay will allow more patients to be treated in the beds hosted by AWP and will contribute to an overall reduction in the use of out-of-area inpatient beds. These beds can often be out of region, moving patients from their region in times of acute crisis. »

The move, funded by £7.5m from NHS England and £3m in local money, is expected to result in annual savings of £1m.

Peter Tilley, AWP’s deputy chief financial officer, told the CCG governing body: “Neighborhoods need money to bring them up to modern standards. We would indeed have to rebuild them, but we would not get the benefits of a campus development, which would not represent good value for money.

“We hope this will support a reduction in our out-of-area requirements. It will have significant and quantifiable benefits for patients.

“23-bed Oakwood is a department we’ve really struggled to recruit consultants for. It’s not attractive. Hopefully we’ll be able to compete and recruit.”

CGC executive director Julia Ross said she was surprised the project did not increase the number of beds, given the level of demand. Mr Tilley said that in a “perfect world” AWP would build an additional neighborhood at Callington Road, but was bound by the terms of the 2018 funding request.

CCG’s governing body voted to approve the business case. No decision has yet been made regarding the neighborhoods liberated by the AWP.

A spokesperson for North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead, said: ‘We are considering several options, all of which will take into account the current condition of the buildings and the costs needed to bring them up to standard.

“The water issues reported by AWP regarding their estate only affect AWP buildings which are separate from NBT buildings.”

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