Sheffield Dementia Wards Axed In Shake-Up

Three wards dedicated to caring for patients with dementia are to be axed as part of a service shake-up by Sheffield Care Trust.

The wards, housed in specialist centres in Beighton, Nether Edge and in the Longley Centre, will be “phased” out in favour of two new rapid response teams and a revamped facility in Grenoside Grange.

The Grenoside Grange facility, a specialist dementia in-patient ward, will undergo a £1million redesign and provide 24 in-patients beds.

The three wards being shut down house 32 beds – more than half the city’s current total of 56.

The move by Sheffield Care Trust follows Government announcements which have emphasised the need to make dementia care a national priority and to modernise services so more care is provided within the home.

The two rapid response community teams, one based in the north of Sheffield and one in the south, will work to reduce hospital admissions by offering more specialist, intensive dementia care in the home.

But the Grenoside Grange facility will provide expert care when hospital admission is unavoidable.

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Sheffield Care Trust announced the proposed changes in September and asked for service users, carers and anyone with a view on dementia care to take part in a consultation prior to the changes being introduced.

Dr Peter Bowie, consultant and clinical director in Old Age Psychiatry at Sheffield Care Trust, said: “We are pleased to announce that the Sheffield Care Trust board has given the go ahead to plans to change the way dementia care is provided in Sheffield.

“This follows a lengthy consultation with a variety of service users, carers and voluntary and statutory organisations.”

Dr Bowie said when the proposals were announced that the current 56 beds treat an average of 135 people a year with little additional community support.

But once the new teams are up and running, it is expected that they will be treating more than 400 people each year.

“The comments we received were overwhelmingly in favour of our proposals and we would like to thank everyone who contributed for their extremely constructive feedback,” said Dr Bowie.

“We will take all the comments on board as we look to finalise the plans so we are ready to implement initial changes by the end of this year.

“We expect the new service to be fully operational by summer 2008 and will continue to work closely with our patients and their carers as the plans are rolled out.”

Sheffield Care Trust delivers integrated NHS and social care mental health services for adults and older people and provides learning disability and substance misuse services in partnership with Sheffield Council’s Neighbourhood and Community Care Directorate.