Birch Hill Hospital on the road to health - claims health councillor

March 26, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale's Health Boss - Councillor Dale MulgrewRochdale's Health Boss Councillor Dale Mulgrew has praised Birch Hill Hospital for making significant improvements to staff and patient security.

Councillor Mulgrew was invited by the hospital, which looks after adults with psychiatric illnesses, to take a tour around the new improvements and discuss future plans for the hospital.

Over the last 12 months the Pennines Care Trust has made security and safety improvements to all garden areas and is currently undergoing a £800,000 refurbishment of its Moorside Ward which will see a greater number of single bedrooms and an extension to its external garden.

Issues have been raised about security at the hospital in the past after a nurse was stabbed in a near by car park in 2006 and a 58 year old female patient was found murdered inside the hospital a year later.

Councillor Dale Mulgrew said: "I was pleased to take up the offer of a visit to really get a grasp of some of the measures which have been introduced to the Hospital. I walked around and talked with some of the managers of the wards, and got a sense of what has changed and what the plans are for the future.

Councillor Mulgrew added: "Clearly the challenges are difficult and the turnover of inpatients is immense. However, I am satisfied that there is a real focus on security, which is reviewed on an ongoing basis.

The Trust has made a massive financial investment into trying to make security a prime concern. They have installed CCTV cameras, and have now an onsite security presence that has been ramped up.

Admittedly this is something which they say is not perfect, but I recognise the work which has been done at the hospital over the last year or so."

A spokesperson from Pennines Acute Trust added: "The Trust has made significant investment at Birch Hill Hospital to improve service facilities and to enhance staff and patient security.

These include improvements to external lighting, installation of additional fencing, more CCTV, an upgrade to our car park and the placement of additional security guards. We also have clear detailed safety procedures for our staff which we regularly remind them of. We will be making further improvements to our security in the future.