The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), part of national charity The Disabilities Trust, has reluctantly decided to close its centre for people with brain injury and mental health needs, Chalkdown House in Swindon.
Thirty nine staff are being put at risk of redundancy, although the Trust is consulting them about redeployment opportunities within the wider organisation, ahead of the closure date of 31 August 2017.
Five people undergoing rehabilitation at the centre will be moved to other placements by the NHS organisations funding their care.
The families of people at the centre have been informed, along with the funders, and the Trust is discussing with the families the most sensitive and appropriate way to tell their relative about the planned closure. .
The charity is concerned that the centre, which opened in 2013 as an independent hospital with 20 beds, will not in the longer term be able to sustain the quality of brain injury rehabilitation that the Trust expects.
Due to pressures and changes within the NHS, admissions have fallen and the centre has always struggled to recruit clinical and managerial staff, given the high demand for these posts from other local employers.
As a result of these factors Chalkdown House also makes significant financial losses.
Penny Blackmore, interim Director of BIRT, said: “This has been a very difficult decision for the Trust to take and one which we have made with great reluctance.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts, we have been unable to generate the number of admissions or to recruit the clinical and managerial staff required to sustain the quality of the service for the longer term.
“There has been increased pressure on the NHS which funds placements at the service, along with changes in the way brain injury rehabilitation is commissioned.
She added: “The local employment market means there is significant demand for psychologists and therapists, and we have found it very difficult to recruit and retain those staff.”
“This is a sensitive time for everyone involved - for the people at the centre, their families and for the affected staff but we genuinely feel that this is the right decision. The Trust will provide all the advice and support we can over the coming months.”
Swindon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Swindon Borough Council, the care watchdog the Care Quality Commission have been informed of the decision.
After the closure, the Chalkdown House site will be secured pending a decision about its future.