Defend Mental health services in Bolton Salford Trafford.

Campaign to defend Mental health services in Bolton Salford Trafford.

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Trust are considering proposals to

  • close one of the three adult mental health wards at Bolton and

  • another at Salford. Total loss of 29 adult beds.

  • both to be replaced by community care, details of which have not been given.

  • centralise all elderly mental health beds for Bolton, Salford and Trafford at Woodlands in Little Hulton with the loss of 25 older age beds.

We believe bed closures would be harmful for patients.

  • 1500 mental health beds have closed in England in the last 2 years. The system is already in crisis with duty workers across England reporting times when there is no bed available anywhere.

  • Current occupancy rate in Greater Manchester West wards is 98%. The government believes 85% is a safe occupancy rate. Already we are 13% over-occupied. This would only get worse if beds closed.

  • Patients and their families would have to travel miles. This would penalise the poor, prolong recovery, reduce access to leave, reduce contact with family and friends when in hospital. Woodlands is very hard to get to, 15 minutes walk from the nearest bus stop.

  • Community workers will have to travel longer to see their patients in hospital, making liaison harder.

  • More community staff will be involved in helping people in crisis. This means less time is available for treatment and support which helps people stay well. So more people may become unwell.

  • The proposals assume other services will still be there. But councils are also cutting mental health services e.g. Bolton council propose to close residential units. Benefits are being cut. Everywhere services are shrinking.

  • Mental illness is increasing due to the stresses caused by the economic recession and austerity.

  • The number of elderly people is increasing, but services for them are being cut.

  • Replacement community services are not defined, have not been piloted nor are evidence based. It is expected there will be a net loss of jobs. Section 188 threat of redundancy notice have been given to the unions representing staff.

  • This is financially driven not patient-care driven. It comes in a context of £20 billion cuts to NHS funding, more than has been cut from any health system ever.

  • Greater Manchester West Trust has reserves. These proposals are expected to save £2.2 million a year. Why can’t this come from reserves?

  • Manchester’s mental health services are in crisis following similar cuts in beds in the past. When Withington hospital moved to Wythenshaw hospital, the PFI beds were more expensive, so they lost over 30 beds. They never recovered. Now they have an average of 38 people every night in out of area beds. These are often in private hospitals, miles away from home e.g. Doncaster, Plymouth, Darlington.

  • Manchester is likely to change its service significantly in the next 2 years. This is likely to require further reorganisation. Why can’t we wait?

  • If the elderly wards all go to Woodlands, then the adult wards become too small a unit to be safe or viable and therefore make the closure of these to a centralised unit inevitable. Potentially we could end up with a return to the Victorian system of an asylum miles away from where people live, increasing isolation, stigma. Maybe even back at Prestwich.

The Con Dem government have cut NHS funding by 5% every year, whilst expecting Trusts to provide the same service. This is impossible. We believe that money should be returned to the NHS and that Greater Manchester West NHS Trust should refuse to pass on these cuts and keeps a full, local service.

A group of users, carers, staff, trade unionists, councillors, members of the public met to agree to launch a campaign to stop these closures. All 4 Bolton MPS sent apologies.

There will be formal consultation from January to 30th March 2014. We agreed to do all we can to influence this consultation with the aim of preventing the centralisation and cuts to bed numbers. If community care genuinely reduces the need for beds, then put it in place and close beds only if they really are empty and not needed.

What can you do

  1. Take a copy of the petition and information sheet http://www.saveourhealthservicesbolton.org.uk/

  1. come to our planning meetings as above

  1. Ask people to join the campaign by emailing secretary@saveourhealthservices.org.uk

  1. Visit or write to your councillor and MP asking them to support our campaign.

  1. Invite a speaker to any meeting you are involved in by ringing 07972 120 451 or email secretary@saveourhealthservices.org.uk or unison@gmw.nhs.uk

  1. Make a donation to the campaign by sending a cheque made out to Bolton TUC marked as for the Save our NHS campaign, Trade union office, Trust Headquarters, Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester M25 3BL

  1. Join us petitioning 11.30 – 1pm Sat 11th Jan Eccles Precinct by Cash Converters

                                        Sat 18th January Farnworth outside post office.

                                        Sat 25th Jan Bolton outside Fred Dibnah statue.

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