Fears over cuts to mental health beds for children and teenagers prompt MP to write to NHS boss Simon Stevens
- Credit: Polly Hancock
A Norfolk MP has written to the head of NHS England over concerns about feared bed closures for children and teenage mental health patients.
Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk and former health minister, said an unnamed mental health consultant has warned him that beds for under-18 patients will be cut in the east of England as part of a review by NHS England.
Mr Lamb has written to NHS England boss Simon Stevens to ask if this is correct.
An NHS England spokesman did not confirm or deny to this newspaper whether the number of beds in the east of England would be reduced.
Mr Lamb said: 'Our ambition should be to dramatically reduce the number of children being admitted to hospital due to mental health problems.
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'But the blunt truth is that we don't currently have the preventive and community care services in place to make this happen.
'Closing hospital beds now will mean that children are left without support or, in many cases, will face having to travel long distances for care which has a detrimental impact on recovery.'
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The NHS England spokesman said the review, which looks at child and adolescent mental health services across England, will result in a more balanced distribution of beds across the country.
They said a 'significant number' of beds in the east of England are occupied by patients from other parts of the country, meaning patients from the region are placed further afield.
'We anticipate the plans to be shared in early 2017,' the spokesman added.