Transforming older people’s inpatient mental health services

This engagement is CLOSED

Close date: 16th December 2022


South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board worked in partnership to engage with people on how we improve mental health care for older people in our inpatient wards.

There are two groups of older adults who use our inpatient wards. These are:

  • People with needs such as dementia, and
  • People with other mental health needs such as depression, anxiety and psychosis (often referred to as functional needs).

This work follows significant improvements made to older people’s mental health services in the community, meaning that most people are cared for as close to home as possible. These improvements include core services with close links to GP practices and community physical health teams across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

About our services

In West Yorkshire, the Trust has five older people’s mental health wards. These include:

  • A ward in Halifax at Calderdale Royal Hospital (16 beds)
  • Two wards in the Priestley Unit in Dewsbury, located in Dewsbury and District Hospital (30 beds; 15 male beds and 15 female beds)
  • Two wards in the Wakefield district at Fieldhead Hospital (16 beds) and at The Poplars in Hemsworth (12 beds).

In South Yorkshire, the Trust has a ward for people with functional mental health needs (10 beds) at Kendray Hospital Barnsley, which we do not envisage any change as part of this transformation.

Why we are proposing to transform services

Currently, most of our older people’s mental health inpatient wards care for people diagnosed with dementia and functional mental health needs – referred to as a mixed needs ward.

Evidence shows that the clinical and personal needs of people diagnosed with dementia, and people with functional needs are very different. People’s experiences, and those of their families, carers and loved ones, are very personal, and the care and support they receive should be too.

There are different types of clinical leadership, supervision, interventions, and workforce skills required to provide specialist care for people with dementia and people with functional needs. On mixed wards it can be difficult to provide activities that are stimulating and care that is appropriate for both groups of patients.

We face challenges with some of our current estate which does not provide an optimum layout for providing modern, therapeutic care. Factors such as the environment, and the amount of personal space available, are also shown to make a big difference to people’s overall wellbeing and experience of care.

We want to make sure we give people the right care in a safe and supportive, needs-led environment.

Through transformation of older people’s mental health inpatient services, we aim to:

  • improve inpatient care and experience
  • reduce the length of stay and the number of people being moved between wards
  • improve the environment of our wards
  • support our healthcare staff and create a skilled workforce which meets the future needs of our older people’s population.

Feedback from previous engagement and involvement activity also supports this.

How we have engaged with people

Engagement with our stakeholders has been a key part of our older people’s mental health inpatient services transformation.

More recently, we have held a workshop with health and social care staff (October 2022) and a stakeholder event (December 2022) which gathered views on the clinical case for change, and potential options for how services could change.

You can read the reports from each of the workshops by clicking on the links below:

Next steps

We are committed to ensuring that the voices and views of our stakeholders are continued to be considered as part of this transformation work. We have reviewed all the feedback we have heard so far and have further developed our plans and outline business case to reflect what people have told us.

Further information

If you would like any further information, or require this information in an alternative format, please email

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