Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Local people have overwhelmingly opposed proposals to cut mental health beds in Waveney and Great Yarmouth, according to the results of a public consultation.
More than 1,000 took part in the three month consultation earlier this year over Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) plans to reduce the number of adult acute beds and older people’s beds in the area.
The results of the survey were published yesterday, which revealed that 80pc of respondents disagreed with a proposal to reduce the number of acute beds at Northgate Hospital in Yarmouth and Carlton Court, near Lowestoft, from 28 to 20 and relocate onto one site.
The consultation also asked for people’s views on whether to close 12 dementia assessment beds at Larkspur Ward and 12 older people’s beds at Laurel Ward, in Carlton Court, Carlton Colville. However, 78.4pc of respondents were against the plans to close the two wards, which have already been mothballed by NSFT.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Yarmouth and Waveney - HealthEast - will discuss the results of the questionnaires and an independent report at a public meeting on Thursday in Beccles . However, a decision on the bed cuts will not be made until later in the year.
Bob Blizzard, prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said commissioners and NSFT now had the mandate to go to the government to ask for more money to keep services open.
“A large number of people have responded and the people have spoken and they have spoken emphatically. They do not want these beds to be closed and there is not a good case for the closures because people are being sent out of area or turned away,” he said.
A spokesman for HealthEast said: “The consultation asked for views on three proposals which NSFT has developed to improve adult mental health services for people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. Their aim is to provide the most appropriate services to meet each patient’s needs, delivered – wherever possible – in people’s own homes by a team of health and social care professionals working closely together.”
NSFT is trying to reduce its budget by 20pc by 2016, which has seen a reduction in bed numbers and staffing.
The HealthEast governing body will discuss its response to the consultation on July 24, with a final decision set to be made at the end of September.
A report into the consultation results can be found at www.greatyarmouthandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/GoverningBodyAgenda
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