A Richmond health network has raised serious concerns about staffing levels in a ward caring for Richmond patients with mental illnesses.

After a visit to Lavender ward in Roehampton, Richmond Link published a report claiming the ward was disturbed and staffing levels did not meet patients’ needs.

Richard McIvor, mental health leader at Richmond Link, said: “Observations from our visits in August and September 2012 raised serious concerns that staffing levels were not adequate to support the care provision that is required on Lavender ward.”

The visit was carried out after Richmond Link became aware of complaints from carers and patients about the standard of care on the ward.

Mr McIvor said: “The Lavender ward that we visited was disturbed and not somewhere where one would want to see your relative being treated and would not pass the Government’s new friends and family test.”

The test allows patients to give feedback on their care by asking them if they would recommend the services to family and friends.

Mr McIvor said: “The number of patients needing admission exceeded the capacity of the ward and seriously ill patients were blocking places on the ward because there were no other beds to which they could be sent.”

He said the management was aware of the problems and working to make the ward safe and effective.

Lavender ward in Roehampton Lane is the only acute adult inpatient ward for Richmond mental health service users run by the South-west London and St George’s Mental Health Trust.

Chief executive officer of the trust David Bradley said he was disappointed staffing issues were highlighted in the report and the trust had acted swiftly to combat problems on the ward.

He said: “Work has commenced with the local authority, acute trusts and the Metropolitan Police to develop joint community plans for frequently admitted people to Lavender ward to agree more suitable alternatives.

“The trust is reviewing establishments on all of the adult acute wards in relation to the number of service users detained and numbers requiring intense observation in light of this report.”

After the visit, the trust applied a new shift pattern on the ward, which included a two hour handover period and a senior nurse provides full time leadership to the ward.

Mr Bradley said: “the Trust is committed to providing a high standard of care, treatment and support for our service users.”