Consultation launched on mental health bed cuts in Great Yarmouth and Waveney

PUBLISHED: 00:01 30 January 2014

Protest outside Carlton Court Hospital in Carlton Colville.
Organised by Bob Blizzard.

Picture: James Bass

Protest outside Carlton Court Hospital in Carlton Colville. Organised by Bob Blizzard. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

Campaigners have pledged to make their voices heard after a public consultation was launched over plans to cut the number of mental health beds in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

Proposals to close beds at Northgate Hospital, in Yarmouth, and Carlton Court, near Lowestoft, have been in the pipeline for 18 months as part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) redesign of services.

Local people will get their chance to air their views on the plans from today when a three month public consultation is launched by HealthEast - the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the area.

The mental health trust claims that it will improve services by improving the levels of support and care for patients in the community.

The proposals are to reduce the number of adult acute beds at Northgate Hospital and Carlton Court from 28 to 20 and relocate onto one site. NSFT also wants to close 12 dementia assessment beds at Carlton Court and develop a dementia intensive support team to work with patients in the community.

Twelve beds for older people with conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia would also close at Carlton Court as part of the plans. Older people who need an inpatient bed would have to go to Julian Hospital in Norwich.

There are also plans to create a dementia cafe in south Lowestoft and an information and resource centre in Great Yarmouth.

Kathy Chapman, Norfolk director of operations at NSFT, said: “The public consultation is an essential part of ensuring that any changes we make to services take into account the views of people living in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. We want as many people as possible to take this opportunity to provide us with feedback on our proposals, and this will help us to ensure that they are right for the future.”

Bob Blizzard, prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said: “Making these cuts at Carlton Court is vandalism. It is a brand new state of the art facility that is no more than six years old. It is an appalling waste of resources and if they want the public to help improve services, the best thing they can do is rip up the plans.”

The 12-week consultation will close on Thursday 24 April and a decision will be made in July.

Andy Evans, chief executive of HealthEast, added: “It is our duty as commissioners to consult the public on NSFT’s proposals to change the way they provide services for adults with dementia and other mental health issues. The aim of their proposals is to keep people out of hospital wherever possible while making sure a range of alternative treatments are available – which fits closely with our goals to provide as much care as possible closer to people’s homes. But we need to hear what the public think.”

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The public consultation events will be held on:

Thursday, February 13 from 6pm until 8pm in The Sanctuary, North Lowestoft United Reformed Church, London Road North, Lowestoft.

Tuesday, February 25, from 10am until noon in The Garden Suite, Comfort Hotel, 14 Albert Square, Great Yarmouth.

Wednesday, March 19 from 6pm until 8pm in The Hall, The Kings Centre, Queen Anne’s Road, Southtown, Great Yarmouth.

Tuesday, March 25 from 6pm until 8pm in Meeting Room 3, Beccles House, 1 Common Lane North, Beccles.

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