June 19 2013 Latest news:
By anthony carroll
Friday, September 21, 2012
A protest was held outside a north Suffolk hospital yesterday over fears that the number of beds for mental health patients could be slashed for the Waveney and Great Yarmouth area.
More than a dozen protesters gathered outside Carlton Court Hospital at Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, to show their concerns over claims that 27 beds could be axed.
The protest comes as NHS bosses focus on supporting mental health patients in their homes.
Yesterday’s protest was organised by Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, who says he has been told about cuts to mental health patient care.
At the moment NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has 12 acute adult beds and also 15 beds for over 65s with mental health issues at Carlton Court Hospital, and has another 12 acute adult beds at Northgate Hospital at Great Yarmouth.
However, Mr Blizzard says an “impeccable source” has told him the trust wants to axe the number of overall beds to just 20 instead of the current 42 and move the remaining ones to a single location at Carlton Colville or the Yarmouth hospital.
Mr Blizzard staged the protest as he fears mental health patients will be abandoned if the new system goes ahead because of cuts to the NHS
He said: “They want to take the number of beds down to 20 – that is more than a 50pc cut.
“One of two communities will not have acute beds in their community and people with have to travel to either Carlton Colville or Yarmouth.
“This is an outrage and totally unfair. Mental ill health affects many people and they need help not abandonment.”
In response to Mr Blizzard’s claims, NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust says it is considering its “service strategy” and is gearing its care policy toward supporting patients at their homes instead of sending them to hospital.
The spokesman also said “no decisions have been made” over the future of either the beds at Carlton Court or Northgate Hospitals.
Over the past year the trust has been looking at ways of improving services in the light of the fact its funding has been reduced by 23pc over four years.
A public meeting will be held on Thursday next week about the threat to hospital beds at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Gordon Road, Lowestoft, at 7.30pm.