Recruitment day organised for understaffed Ipswich mental health unit following Lark Ward closure

An open day is being held at the Woodlands unit in Ipswich to recruit staff. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

An open day is being held at the Woodlands unit in Ipswich to recruit staff. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Archant

Mental health chiefs in Suffolk are stepping up efforts to recruit after staff shortages forced the closure of vital beds.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is holding an open day at the Woodlands unit in Ipswich on May 15 to attract new workers.

The trust is offering golden hellos of £3,000 plus relocation packages of up to £5,000 for Band 5 qualified nurse posts.

Woodlands is based on the grounds of Ipswich Hospital and is made up of four specialist inpatient wards – Lark, Avocet, Poppy and Willows.

Lark Ward is Suffolk’s only psychiatric intensive care unit, which was shut last month because there were not enough staff to keep patients safe.

Tara Brown, modern matron at Woodlands, said the inaugural open day would give people a chance to visit the ward and meet staff.

She added: “We have vacancies on the unit for qualified nurses and also for clinical support workers, and the day is an opportunity to learn more about these vacancies.

“The trust has experienced challenges over the last few years but there is a strong motivation from all staff to work towards improvements and to make sure we are providing the best care we can.

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“I am proud to work with all the teams in east Suffolk, including those based at Woodlands. Each day, I work alongside highly skilled and caring staff who are passionate about the roles they undertake. I see and hear this reflected in many of the conversations and meetings I have with service users and carers.

“This is an exciting time to work at Woodlands, which is a welcoming and warm unit providing many opportunities for career development and to grow as a member of our teams.”

People can drop in between 10am and 12noon or between 5pm and 7pm, and will have to pay for parking at Ipswich Hospital.

There will be an opportunity to apply for jobs on the day.

NSFT, which has recently brought in a new chief executive, is holding another recruitment event for mental health vacancies throughout east Suffolk, including at Woodlands, on June 7 between 11am and 7pm at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Anyone interested in attending the open day or working on Woodlands but who is unable to attend on May 15 is asked to contact Mrs Brown via 01473 891762 or

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