David Powles of the EDP exclusively reports:
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.
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.
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.
“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?”
Sadly, it was indeed a sham consultation.
The Chair of NSFT, Gary Page, of course, went onto BBC Radio Suffolk and attempted to claim that no Suffolk beds were planned for closure:
Andy Evans, the Chief Executive, and John Stammers, the Chair, of Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, also known as HealthEast, are doing what suits their own bureaucracy’s narrow and arbitrary financial interest, irrespective of the consequences for mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk. The creation of unaccountable and expensive clinical commissioning groups as part of Andrew Lansley’s ‘no top top reorganisation of the NHS’ has been a disaster.
Is it acceptable for public bodies and servants to promise one thing but do the opposite? Have they no shame? Nobody takes any responsibility.
It is only a matter of time before a vulnerable or frail paitient dies alone, hundreds of miles away from their family and friends.
Read the full story on the EDP website by clicking on the image below: