19 January 2017

East London NHS Foundation Trust is developing a plan to provide enhanced care for female service users who receive care at Keats Ward in Weller Wing, Bedford Hospital.

Weller Wing has long been recognised as an unsuitable environment for providing inpatient mental health care and the Trust has been working to find an alternative location far better suited for helping people recover from mental health difficulties.

We have identified Townsend Court in Houghton Regis as the best available alternative to Weller Wing in the short term.

Why Townsend Court?

Townsend Court is a bright and modern purpose-built acute inpatient unit with a garden for patient use that will provide a hugely improved therapeutic environment for Keats Ward patients in comparison to the ill-suited Weller Wing.

This decision is based upon providing the best possible patient care available for people living within Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire.

We have undertaken an exhaustive search of available sites and feel that Townsend Court is the best possible location to provide the clinical care that our patients require in the short term.

Our review included a full assessment of our sites within Bedford Borough but there are none available which are suitable to deliver the level of patient care required.

Travel and transport

There is plenty of parking available on the Townsend Court site.

However, we do appreciate that reaching Houghton Regis by public transport is not ideal and we are looking at ways that the Trust might be able to help patients, relatives and carers reach Townsend Court.

Timeframe

Weller Wing is owned by Bedford Hospital and our lease ends on March 31, 2017.

Other questions

Changes would be for the shorter term while we continue to work towards a long-term plan of how acute mental health care is provided for the people of Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire.

We also appreciate this may be an unsettling period.

However, we will keep you informed of any updates and would stress that providing the best level of patient care remains our absolute priority.

A Q&A document is attached to this page.

If you have any urgent queries then please contact communications@elft.nhs.uk