THE Gansey elderly mentally infirm (EMI) unit in Southlands Resource Centre is to close from Tuesday.
The news ‘astounded’ relatives of those who are resident or have respite care at the unit and also Rushen MHKs, who were all given the news on Wednesday.
Relatives were told that Southlands is unable to recruit enough staff to keep the unit open. There are eight residents on the ward and at least two stay at the unit for respite care.
They were told six members of staff are on long term sick leave meaning if one member of staff was off sick, the unit would have to close.
The residents will be moved to Thie Meanagh in Douglas. The move is temporary relatives and MHKs were told, but they weren’t told how long it would be for.
The Department of Social Care said sickness levels and annual leave mean that staff numbers in the Gansey unit have now reached a level that will compromise standards of care if action is not taken immediately.
Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK said: ‘We have taken all possible steps since the start of the year to secure the additional staff we need to ensure we can continue to provide a high standard of care, but in the face of a general shortage in suitably skilled nurses across the island and the UK we have not been fully successful.’
He added this is a temporary closure and the unit’s re-opening is the department’s ‘top priority’ and he said his department is ‘making strenuous efforts to secure additional skilled staff to enable the unit to re-open soon’.
Port Erin commissioner Lorna MacKellar, whose father Archie, aged 90, receives respite care at the unit, said: ‘I do not understand why they cannot get agency staff. The staff they do have are absolutely terrific, they are over worked. There seem to be problems in recruitment planning. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time, it should have been addressed.’
She said many of the residents who visit relatives in the unit are elderly, some unable to drive, meaning visiting them in Douglas will be challenging.
Rushen MHK Juan Watterson speaking on behalf of himself and fellow MHKs Phil Gawne and Laurence Skelly, said: ‘I know moving EMI patients is not a good thing to do. The reasons for doing this have got to out weight that [the trauma].’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 18 May 2013
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