A MENTAL health facility for people in crisis in Salisbury will close for a year after an inspection found it had “potential safeguarding issues”.

NHS England has stepped in to shut the place of safety unit at Fountain Way psychiatric hospital, meaning those in need will be transferred 45 minutes away to the Green Lane psychiatric hospital in Devizes.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found staff were not consistently exploring potential safeguarding issues.

They also found that staff felt unsafe as many of the personal alarm systems at the unit were not adequate.

They ordered Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWP) to make immediate and urgent improvements to protect staff and patients.

The decision to close the unit was made today following two inspections in 2016 and 2017 which rated the Trust as “requires improvement”.

A post on AWP’s website states: “This will provide an opportunity to address the CQC improvement requirements, particularly around assessment times.

“During the period of temporary reallocation, engagement will be undertaken with the populations of Swindon and Wiltshire and individuals using the service. This will then lead to recommendations to NHS England and NHS Improvement.”

The decision will also see the closure of the place of safety unity based in Swindon for a year.

The Trust says it will also allow it to support the delivery of the amended Mental Health Act to reduce the period someone can be detained on a Section 135/6 from 72 to 24 hours.

According to the Trust, longer term arrangements in relation to the centre will be “subject to an NHS England assurance process”.

The announcement is not linked to a consultation last year in which the Trust decided to close the facility permanently, before announcing a review of its decision.

The plan to close the unit came under fire from bosses at Salisbury District Hospital, who feared it would put more pressure on the A&E department.