THE Shackleton dementia ward will close indefinitely — just three months after reopening following a £200,000 refurbishment.

The St Mary's Hospital ward will not reopen as a service for older people after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about the standard of care provided to patients, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust confirmed today (Friday).

Instead, patients will be cared for in the community.

However, the new community service has yet to be set up — which means patients who need specialist dementia care will be sent to mainland hospitals in the meantime.

Shackleton was closed in August due to staff shortages.

The trust said at the time it did not have enough suitably experienced staff to care for patients.

Read more: Newly refurbished dementia ward at St Mary's Hospital closed again due to lack of staff

It had only reopened in June, after it was refurbished with new furniture and facilities to make it more homely and welcoming for patients.

Prior to that, the ward was closed in April after it was deemed 'unfit for purpose.'

The Care Quality Commission had rated it inadequate, along with other trust services.

During the closure, patients were sent to mainland hospitals.

Read more: Dementia patients could be sent to the mainland during Isle of Wight hospital ward closure

The trust said the ward would be used again in the future, but it did not know in what capacity.

A spokesperson said: "This ward won't reopen. The new community service will replace it permanently.

"The CQC report, published after the ward was closed to admissions, does raise concerns about the quality of care provided and that was an important part of the decision not to reopen the ward."

CQC inspectors raised concerns about the quality of care and lack of clinical managerial support.

They also found confidential information was not kept safe.

The trust board has agreed to set up a new service supporting older people in their homes, or nursing and care homes, rather than on a hospital ward.

Dr Lesley Stevens, the trust’s director of mental health and learning disabilities, said: “We have been working with our clinical commissioners and have agreed that Shackleton Ward will remain closed indefinitely because of a shortage of staff.

“The community-based service will be better for those people needing support, their families and the wider community.

“Creating this new service fits with the priorities set out in the Mental Health Blueprint and the Isle of Wight Health and Care Plan, both show that to improve mental health services we must change our model of care to be more community-based.”

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