NSFT stops taking new patients onto Rollesby Ward, Hellesdon Hospital.

Many people may have seen the recent press articles about the ‘closure’ of Rollesby Ward at Hellesdon Hospital. The ward this week, has stopped admitting patients.

NHS forced to stop taking new patients onto Rollesby ward | Eastern Daily Press (edp24.co.uk)

Rollesby is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for women, which opened early in 2023. It receives patients from both Suffolk and Norfolk, as the PICU in Suffolk (Lark Ward at Woodlands, Ipswich) is male only.

When Lark changed from being a mixed sex ward to single sex (male), and female patients accommodated at Rollesby Ward in Norwich, SUF raised concerns that this change was not subject to consultation and that no Equality Impact Assessment could be provided to us.

Whilst welcoming the move to a single sex PICU (as we were mindful that women’s needs within inpatient services have historically been particularly overlooked and that women are more vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse in inpatient settings) we were concerned that Suffolk women requiring PICU support were being disadvantaged by being placed in a Norfolk ward.

By being placed further away from their families, friends, and children, female patients may face additional challenges in their recovery and in fulfilling any parental roles they may have. SUF believes that access to a supportive network is crucial for peoples well-being and recovery.

We are therefore concerned the ward is now closing due to staffing levels and problems with recruitment. Female patients needing this specialist service potentially risk being placed out of Norfolk/Suffolk, and therefore further away from family and friends.

SUF has today arranged for this issue to be discussed at the October 2023 meeting of the Urgent and Emergency Care Subgroup to the Mental Health Collaborative Board, so that we can find out more about the impact on patients, and the numbers of people affected by this closure.