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Concern at option to close physio centre

PUBLISHED: 10:20 09 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

A physiotherapy department that helps "hundreds of people rebuild their lives" is facing closure as part of cutbacks by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust, it was revealed yesterday.

A physiotherapy department that helps “hundreds of people rebuild their lives” is facing closure as part of cutbacks by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust, it was revealed yesterday.

The trust, which runs mental health services across the county, has blamed a £6m shortfall in funding from primary care trusts (PCTs) for a far reaching cost-cutting review, which has already claimed a day centre for elderly people in Norwich.

Now patients who have physiotherapy at Hellesdon Hospital have been told the department, also run by the trust, is to shut in three months time.

Vincent Olive, from Redenhall who has been having physiotherapy at the hospital for about a year, said: “I think what they do is quite unique because they have a more psychological approach which I have not had when I have had physio elsewhere. I find it a refreshing difference.

“I have been going for about a year and my appointments have gradually been reducing as I have been getting better. I hadn't been for a couple of months when recently we got to the end of the session and we were discussing when I should next come. They said they were not sure if it would be at Hellesdon because it was closing in three months. There was no talk of where I would be going instead.

“This small and dedicated department has and continues to help hundreds of people rebuild their lives, and in most cases without resorting to medication.

“Whatever the reasoning I feel very strongly that the plight of the physiotherapy department at Hellesdon needs a voice of reason to look into the decision, perhaps with a view to compromise if necessary, rather than the total loss of this very vital service.”

Last night a trust spokeswoman confirmed the department, which employs eight staff, would be closing.

“Physiotherapy services for working age adults will be disestablished,” she said. “It is not something we wanted to implement but the measures are necessary in order to reduce our expenditure in line with the significantly reduced funding we will be receiving from our PCTs this year.

“We will work with service users whose care is affected and staff will be kept fully informed about our plans.”

But last night a spokesman for Central Norfolk PCTs said no final decision had been made.

“In the ongoing review of finances within the local NHS, a number of options are being explored in partnership with the Mental Healthcare Trust,” he said. “At the present time, the primary care trusts have made no final decisions regarding the decommissioning of specific services.”

The move is part of a range of cuts to both clinical and non-clinical areas being examined to reduce spending following reduced funding

In April the trust, which managed to balance its books, said it feared 120 jobs would have to go.

The trust which employs 2,200 and has an annual budget of £80m believes the shortfall will also affect moves to modernise services and deliver more care in the community.

Last month the EDP reported that Centre 84, which is for elderly people with mental health problems, is to shut with users offered more community based support or designated places at the Julian day hospital.


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