Head injuries unit at The Min set to be closed down
A nationally renowned service for people with head injuries in Bath is set to be closed down.
The neurological rehabilitation service provided at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases is set to be scrapped next year.
The hospital, known as The Min, has seen income for the service, which treats patients from all over the country, reduced by 50 per cent over the past two years.
After a review the hospital board has expressed a preference to stop providing the service, which offers specialist assessment and rehabilitation to people aged 16 and over who have had a brain injury as a result of an accident or illness.
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Chief executive Kirsty Mathews said the services provided would continue elsewhere in the NHS.
She said: "The NHS will continue to provide high quality neurological rehabilitation services for those who need them.
"The commissioners at the South West Specialised Commissioning Team and NHS B&NES and Wiltshire will now work together to identify and consult upon options for how this service can be reprovided.
"The RNHRD will be collaborating closely on this consultation process.
"It is important to emphasise that there are no concerns about the quality of safety of what has always been a well-regarded service. Patterns of care have changed and the service is now no longer viable.
"The neurological rehabilitation unit currently remains fully operational and every step is being taken to ensure both current and future patients experience the least disruption. Other services at the RNHRD are not affected by this decision."
The board will be making a decision on the proposal at a meeting today. If it votes to approve the recommendation the service will be stopped from March 31 next year.
Increasingly patients are being treated closer to home, resulting in reduced demand for the inpatient service provided at the hospital.
The board will be told that at this reduced level of occupancy – an average of eight patients at a time – the service is no longer commercially viable.
The hospital will formally consult affected staff, who have received a letter outlining the reasons for the change and describing the anticipated timelines and processes.
Mrs Mathews said: "All staff are having individual meetings to discuss how the change affects their roles and what redeployment process will look like.
"Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure redeployment within the NHS for affected staff."
It is not known how many staff will be affected. The Min is in the process of merging with the Royal United Hospital.