BBC News: Norfolk budget cut threatens women’s mental health unit

“The county council would not accept a weekly rate of £650 per person at the centre and said it would only pay £593.

Ashcroft Centre trustees said staff numbers would have to be cut to unsafe levels if this rate was accepted.

Ben Curran, head of operations at Julian Support which runs the Ashcroft Centre, said many of its female patients had self-harming and other issues which meant their safety was an important consideration.

Beds were also kept for women with mental health problems for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Women discharged from hospitals but unable to live independently came to the unit.”

A campaign supporter and mental health professional writes:

“This is the only female residential unit locally. This means that for those women who may find being around men difficult there is a place they can go where they feel safe. The unit has developed particular expertise in supporting women with complex needs and high levels of risk. Women who would otherwise end up in hospital. But Ashcroft is better able to support them than many of our wards because the unit is focused on supporting this specific group, meaning that they are able to provide a more settled environment than our wards. And the staff are able to focus on offering therapeutic activities – the most useful intervention for this group of women.

It’s a real blow to all the service users who were using Ashcroft regularly and all the staff who knew that it would be there to support our clients when they needed it. The relationships we had all formed with the staff there were such a key part of what made Ashcroft work so well. It is frankly shocking, short-sighted and further evidence of the disintegration between health and social care. It really does break my heart to see all the amazing work that Penny the manager did there being thrown away by people with no grasp of the real value of it.”

Read the full story on the BBC News website by clicking on the image below:

BBC News Norfolk budget cut threatens women's mental health unit

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