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Campaigners fight reduction in NHS mental health ward beds

Campaigners have criticised proposals to cut inpatient beds in an NHS mental health ward at Maudsley hospital in south London

In a series of moves to re-organise the structure of Maudsley hospital, run by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, beds in the Aubrey Lewis 3 ward are being reallocated from Lambeth residents to Southwark residents, with a loss of beds.

The reallocation is to rebalance the services offered between Southwark and Lambeth areas, and forms part of a programme to improve efficiency and lower costs, says a spokesperson for Maudsley hospital.

The spokesperson confirmed plans to cutback on seven beds, stating that for these patients, alternative treatment will be provided through home treatment and residential rehabilitation.

‘The reason for the cutbacks is that the demand for acute beds is decreasing,’ he added.

But pressure group Health Emergency warned there is a consensus amongst health professionals and politicians that recession leads to an increased demand for mental health services

Health Emergency head of campaigns, Geoff Martin, said: ‘We are working with staff, charities, user groups and local politicians to try and get these cuts overturned.’

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