Norfolk centre specialising in women’s mental health to close

Ashcroft Centre in Wicklewood
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Ashcroft Centre in Wicklewood Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The fight to improve mental health provision in Norfolk has taken a blow with the announcement that a centre specialising in women's mental health is to close.

The Ashcroft Centre, near Wymondham, will shut in March 2018, ending a battle to save the unit which began in 2014, backed by the EDP.

Julian Support, the charity which runs the unit, has said they are 'very sad' that they will have to close the centre, but have been forced to do so due to NHS funding cuts.

It has not yet been confirmed what provisions will be put in place in return for the closure of the Wicklewood centre.

In a joint statement, Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk CCG said they were introducing a 'more progressive model' of adult social services-funded mental health care from March.

This will be complemented with a contract for a respite care bed and packages of social work care where necessary, they said.

A spokeswoman added: 'These changes will transform the service and mean that more Norfolk women will have access to more dedicated women-only support, close to their homes.'

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A spokeswoman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services said: 'This unique, high quality women-only service is something that Norfolk should have been proud of, and protected.

'We urge the clinical commissioning groups and Norfolk County Council to work together to ensure the building and high quality staff are used to support people in mental health distress.

'It is outrageous that millions of pounds of NHS money is being spent transporting people to private units across the country, while local high quality services in the voluntary sector and NHS are starved of cash and closed.

'It is obscene that many millions were spent at the failed and unsafe Mundesley and Huntercombe private hospitals when a fraction of that amount would save Ashcroft. Ashcroft provided just the type of alternative to admission co-funded by the NHS and social services which the STP claims it wants to deliver.

'But now, apparently, it is to close. We hope that the amazing women who fought so hard for their service receive the support and care they need.'

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