DEMENTIA patients could be sent to the mainland while the Isle of Wight's specialist hospital ward is closed for the next nine weeks.

Shackleton ward, rated inadequate by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, has been deemed 'unfit for purpose' and is undergoing a £200,000 refurbishment.

The specialist dementia ward was closed yesterday (Monday) and is expected to reopen in June.

During the closure, dementia patients will be assessed and either admitted to a hospital ward, provided with home care or placed in a residential care home.

If they need specialist inpatient dementia care, and cannot be safely looked after on a regular hospital ward at St Mary's, the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made arrangements for patients to be sent to a hospital in Hampshire.

It is not known how many patients will be affected, or where in Hampshire they could be sent.

The Isle of Wight CCG has been contacted for comment.

Director of mental health and learning disabilities at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Lesley Stevens, said the refurbishment would not fully address all the concerns raised about Shackleton, as there will be no access to outside space.

She said: "However, the work will create a welcoming and homely environment which will improve the wellbeing, safety and social connection of people with dementia.

"We are looking forward to this upgrade to Shackleton Ward as it will significantly improve the experience for people during their admission.

"We hope to cause as little disruption as possible to the patients and their families but it is vital that we address and change as much of the environment as possible in order to benefit the patients that will be needing the ward in the future."

During the refurbishment, Shackleton staff members will work will colleagues in the dementia liaison service and memory clinic in order to increase support for individuals at home.

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