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Mental health ward closure reflects wider trend


A mental health ward at the Whitchurch Community Hospital is likely to be shut by Shropshire County Primary Care Trust as it pursues a broader trend towards treating people at home instead.

Managers at Whitchurch insists the plan is not about trying to save money but to modernise care for mental health patients.

If the proposal is implemented, the county service will need an additional 90 staff, according to the trust. A consultation on the proposal will begin on 6 September.

Mental health provision is being assessed across the country as managers look to make the £20 billion worth of efficiency savings demanded by the government. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, for example, is considering consolidating mental health services at a single site rather than spread across three.

Shropshire County PCT’s Sam Hill said: “User and carers we’ve been talking to for a long time have been saying to us they would much rather have help in their own homes with their own lives so they can perhaps carry on with the jobs they are doing or the leisure opportunities they have, rather than be taken out of their lives and put into a ward.”



Readers' comments (4)

  • I heard this 20 years ago! And underinvestment in community-based services led to failure. Have "lessons been learned"?

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  • The idea of care in the community for those with a mental illness sounds great in theory. When you have enough resources put in place to do this it works however, Trusts should speak to those who actually work in the community and try to sort out the short comings of care in the community. Also speak to the patients and carers about what will work for them and finally mental health wards are still needed after all where is the patient to go when they need emergency treatment that cannot be done at home, and those who actually need a spell in hospital. I suppose with more an more mental health wards being closed the private sector will be rubbing their hands gleefully as they will be used on a more regular basis .

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  • I use to work in a large mental health hospital and I think the best ideas was when it was closed down and replace with small unit and newer services, but in recent years services which were set up to replace the hospitals services have moved, closed or replace with other services and spending cut are here and it seems and feels like as a mental health professional people who are venerable, social isolated are at risk because it appears for them to be easy targets or it could be are not valued in society. As a society mental health services are not valued because there do not deal with physical health issues so there is no public out cry.

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  • I agree with Anonymous 23-Aug-2010 10:25 pm. I am aware that a over65 mental health ward inSussex is to close in April next year patient will be sent to an ageless unit........ those poor souls......and more community support but staffing for this is needed do all of the staff drive? do they want to work in the community? if not where will they go?

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