A mental health trust does not have funds to reopen a ward intended to ease a beds crisis, a report has warned.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) announced in September plans to reopen 10 beds at Hellesdon Hospital.
A report to the trust in October said it should not reopen the ward because it would add £1.9m to the annual bill.
A report to the trust’s board of directors says the plan to reopen the ward would add an annual £1.9m bill – against a yearly saving of £1.4m after an initial saving of £2.4m on the current system.
The report, by non-executive director of the trust Adrian Stott, highlighted the lack of funds and raises concerns over reopening the beds at “a time of financial distress”.
Mr Stott recommended “reducing the number of inpatients who are not ill enough to be inpatients”. The report included warnings 30 people would regularly be treated outside the counties unless action was taken.
Asked about the report’s recommendations, Michael Scott, chief executive of the trust, said: “We recognise the need to have those beds open and we are going to open them and we are discussing with our funders how they can best support us in doing this.”
A spokesman for a Clinical Commissioning Group covering Norfolk said it provided £71.86m in funding for the trust, “inclusive of community and inpatient beds”.
He said the trust’s request for extra funds came too late.
Emma Corlett, NSFT UNISON branch spokeswoman, said she welcomed the plan for reopening the beds in September but was “alarmed to learn… that currently this proposal is not deemed financially viable.
She said the “lack of beds is such a significant risk to the health and safety” that it is vital that the plans for 10 bed ward are fully funded.
We are going to have a lot more about this astonishing turn of events – we’re getting new information all the time.
Read Nic Rigby’s full article on the BBC News website by clicking on the image below. To say that people are angry about this on our Facebook page is an understatement.