Dementia beds set to be axed in Carlton Colville as part of mental health shake-up for Waveney and Great Yarmouth area
11:41 23 May 2013
(C) James Bass 2012
The mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk has launched an internal consultation into the future of acute dementia beds for elderly people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has announced it is looking at reducing the 12 beds at Carlton Court Hospital in Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, and replacing them with dementia intensive support teams to provide care for more elderly people at their homes in the Waveney and Yarmouth areas.
It is believed the number of beds in the dementia ward could be cut to three and 31 staff could be affected.
And the plan to replace the beds with a home service has heightened fears about further beds at Carlton Court Hospital being axed.
As previously reported, a far reaching review of mental health services could see either Carlton Court Hospital or Northgate Hospital in Yarmouth lose all their acute adult in-patient beds.
Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, has been campaigning to save all the beds at Carlton Court Hospital.
He claims the trust will recommend all 27 acute adult in-patient beds at Carlton Court Hospital be closed as part of plans to cut bed numbers for Waveney and Yarmouth from 42 to 20 by relocating them all to Northgate Hospital, which currently has 15. As a protest about the 45-day internal consultation over dementia beds and the threat to acute beds, Mr Blizzard has organised a demonstration outside Carlton Court Hospital from noon on Saturday, June 1.
He said: “This is an act of vandalism against Carlton Court. Those wards were only opened about six years ago.
“As Waveney MP, I fought long and hard to get that investment because previously there were no in-patient mental health beds in Lowestoft.
“Now we will back to where we were years ago. It is disgraceful to close new NHS facilities.”
The trust plans to cut 502 out of 2,128 posts and 20pc of its in-patient beds by 2016 across Norfolk and Suffolk.
The changes are a result of a need to meet the government’s demands for a 20pc budget cut – leading to a focus by the trust on delivering some services in patients’ homes instead.
A trust spokesman said no dementia beds will be closed at Carlton Court Hospital until it is clear the dementia intensive support teams are working effectively.
The spokesman added: “Staff are being consulted on proposals which involve the creation of new community teams known as dementia intensive support teams, which will provide dementia care at home to significantly more people than is currently possible. As a result of this new service, it is expected bed occupancy within our acute dementia ward at Carlton Court Hospital will significantly reduce. However, anyone who needs a bed will continue to be admitted as they are now.”
Regarding acute in-patient beds, the spokesman said: “No plans for the future of beds at both hospitals have been finalised.”