Abbey Court Independent Hospital, which is located in Birchwood, Warrington, is going to shut down after being in operation for less than six years. The healthcare contractor running the hospital stated that agency costs and staffing levels were the main reasons for the decision.
The hospital was meant to be a centre of excellence for patients with dementia. However, it has informed NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group that it intends to stop providing services to dementia patients. The hospital will be closing in the next six months.
Abbey Court Independent Hospital started its operations in December 2010. As well as treating patients over the age of 55 with dementia, the hospital also had facilities to offer care to patients with complicated mental health issues.
A spokesperson for Alternative Futures Group, the medical contractor running the hospital, stated that the contractor had informed NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group that it intends to stop dementia care at the hospital and will be sending the Group a notice regarding the termination of the contract.
The spokesperson went on to add that the decision to cease dementia care was taken after considering several factors, including the cost of hiring agency staff and the number of qualified staff needed, which were imperative for operating a sustainable healthcare model.
In January, during the inspection, the Care Quality Commission criticised the hospital after it found a high staff vacancy rate as well as a high long-term sickness rate. The Commission also noted that the hospital was highly dependent on nursing agency staff, who did not perform all the duties that directly employed nurses of the hospital used to perform.
The NHS contractor has assured patients and their families that it will continue working with NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group during the notice period to ensure that all patients under its care are transferred seamlessly to the new service provider.