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Southampton psychiatric intensive care ward reopens


Southern Health has re-opened Hamtun Ward, its 10-bed psychiatric intensive care unit at Antelope House in Southampton. The ward was temporarily closed in July last year due to staffing shortages.

The closure enabled the team to enact a focused eight-month recruitment plan to employ the nursing staff needed to provide high quality and safe services. During the closure, patients received the same level of care but at an alternative location, whilst Antelope House’s other two wards remained open.

Liz Durrant, area manager for Southampton’s adult mental health services, said: “The team is delighted to have re-opened the ward to patients this month. The relocation of our intensive care services was always a temporary measure and we are pleased to be able to offer the right care closer to people’s homes and families. Whilst we still have much work to do, I am extremely proud of the hard work the teams have put into improving recruitment to our service.

“We have created new roles such as advanced nurse practitioners, peer support workers and assistant practitioners. We have also redesigned the staffing model to better meet the needs of patients - along with a new career pathway from health care support worker up to nurse therapist, advanced nurse practitioner or ward manager. We are investing in our staff and their development in a way we have not been able to previously and we plan to implement the changes that work well in our other units.”

The staff shortage at Antelope House reflected the ongoing national issue of nursing shortages, with fewer nurses entering training than ever before. Added to this, Antelope House is a very busy mental health hospital supporting people at their most unwell, so whilst it is very rewarding, it is also a very demanding job for those working at the unit.

Hamtun Ward provides care for people who are experiencing acute mental health needs. It is a safe, secure and low stimulus ward environment, separate to the rest of the inpatient unit. It has a greater number of staff per patient, which allows more intensive care and treatment.

If you are interested in joining the team at Antelope House, visit for more information.

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