Anger as Suffolk adult mental health unit closes with the loss of more beds

A protest rally is being held to protest at bed cuts at Carlton Court hospital.It is being held to c

A protest rally is being held to protest at bed cuts at Carlton Court hospital.It is being held to coincide with a public meeting at the United Reformed Church in Lowestoft Town Centre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Campaigners fear even more adult mental health patients will have to be sent outside of the region, after it was confirmed a unit to treat them in had been closed down.

Carlton Court care home health cuts protest.Picture: James Bass

Carlton Court care home health cuts protest.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Around a dozen beds for adults suffering acute mental health problems had been on offer at the Carlton Court Hospital, in Carlton Colville.

However, the unit, called Waveney Acute Services, has been scaled down in size since it was agreed last year by bosses at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG to close it.

Yesterday, health bosses confirmed the remaining two patients had been transferred to the nearby Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, which means the overall number of adult beds in the area for those with severe mental health problems has been reduced from 28 to 20.

Terry Skyrme, of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk & Suffolk, accused health bosses of breaking their promises with the move, fearing a lack of beds would see more patients sent out of the region for treatment.

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The trust, battling major cost savings, has had to increasingly send people to beds across the country - despite previous pledges to stop the practice.

Mr Skyrme said: 'NSFT repeatedly promised beds would not close until it was shown that they were not needed, but wards were closed. Back in January 2014, the commissioners and NSFT promised that out of area placements would end before May 2014 but the bed crisis deepened and has never stopped.

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'During the consultation, the people of Great Yarmouth and Waveney were promised that Carlton Court would not be closed until additional beds, still not enough to make up the shortfall, were built at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

'Those beds are not yet ready but Carlton Court closes today. Are the promises of commissioners and NSFT worth anything at all?'

Carlton Court also houses a unit for the elderly and those with dementia and is due to become a 'centre of excellence' for children with mental health problems by Spring 2016.

Michael Scott, chief executive at the trust, said: 'Work has been taking place to build an additional five beds on the site to bring the number up to 20 adult acute beds. In the meantime the community-based services have been developed to support people better in their own homes and enabling a phased reduction in the beds at the Waveney Acute Unit.

'Alongside these developments, there has been a detailed staffing transition plan to support staff through this change process and support them in moving to the new roles.

'Through this, patient and staff safety considerations have been paramount and regularly reviewed as the numbers of patients admitted to Waveney Acute Services reduced.'

•Do you have a story for the investigations unit? Contact David Powles on 01603 772478 or email

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