Protest staged at mental health cuts meeting in Beccles

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 March 2014

Carlton Court Hospital in Carlton Colville.

Carlton Court Hospital in Carlton Colville.

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

Campaigners against plans to permanently close three wards at Carlton Court Mental Health Hospital near Lowestoft, mounted a protest before a consultation meeting in Beccles this week.

A large number of residents gathered at Beccles House, the headquarters of Health East in Common Lane North on Tuesday evening, to hear the latest on the consultation on mental health services.

Carlton Court in Carlton Colville is Waveney’s only in-patient mental health hospital, and the closure of three wards would result in the loss of 39 beds.

Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said: “The message was loud and clear. People want in-patient care closer to home. They don’t want to have to travel to Norwich or Yarmouth if they or their family suffers from acute mental ill health or dementia.

“If all these cuts go ahead, the new buildings at Carlton Court, which were only opened seven years ago, will be empty and the mental health trust said they didn’t know what would happen to them. There must be a worry about the whole viability of the hospital if the three wards are closed.”

“However, they did say that if the consultation and Health East reject the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s proposals, the three wards would stay open, including the two already closed. So I urge everyone to contact Health East and give them this message. Mental ill health affects one in four of us all at some time in our lives.”

The 12-week consultation on the mental health service shake-up, which is being carried out by commissioning body Health East, runs until April 24. It was launched in response to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s redesign of services, which also includes cutting beds at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, where similar protests have been staged.

The consultation builds on the philosophy that care should be delivered in patients’ homes wherever possible by an integrated team of health and social care professionals working together to reduce duplication and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. For more information visit

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