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Protesters in King’s Lynn fight against mental health service cuts

PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 April 2016

MU_King's Lynn mental health march

MU_King's Lynn mental health march

Archant

Protesters took to the streets of King’s Lynn to voice their anger at what they described as “continuous” cutbacks to mental health services in west Norfolk.

More than 100 campaigners marched from The Walks through the town centre before finishing outside the Majestic Cinema.

Peter Smith, former parliamentary candidate for south-west Norfolk said: “We are in the fight of our lives here.”

The protest was triggered by the Fermoy Unit, an in-patient NHS facility in Lynn for mental health, which campaigners say faces an uncertain future. The unit was briefly closed to new admissions earlier this month, but reopened last week, albeit with fewer beds.

Mr Smith said: “In my lifetime we have never had to fight like this, but what is the alternative?”

But Debbie White, director of operations for Norfolk at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said there were now no plans to axe the Fermoy Unit.

She added: “It is right that mental health services should be valued and funded on the same level as acute health services, and it is understandable people feel passionate about the Fermoy Unit remaining open.”

Labour party activist Jo Rust insisted the issue would not disappear. She said: “They have been talking about closing it for a long time. We will fight and we will not let them do that.”

Beth Anthony, 18 of Dersingham, said: “We are here to protest against the continuous cuts to the mental health service, we think it’s unacceptable. My younger brother suffers from poor mental health and has to travel to London... That is to the detriment of my family because we have to pay for him to go down by train every single month.”

Do you have a health story? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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