NHS Mental Health Day Care Axed
Almost £10m is to be cut from mental health services in Gloucestershire. NHS day care for mentally ill adults is to be scrapped and in-patient services will be centralised in Gloucester and Cheltenham to make the £9.6m savings. Unions have not ruled out strike action in protest against the announcement by Gloucestershire Partnership NHS Trust. The cuts to mental health provision are in addition to £40m of health savings proposed for a range of services across the county. During the discussion around 30 clinicians and staff walked out saying they had not been listened to.
“The walkout was precipitated by a complete lack of consultation on what we feel is the whole issue about the closures that have gone on and just been rail-roaded through without sufficient consultation with staff, service users, carers and the general public,” said Jim Stone, Ward Manager, Wotton Lawn Hospital.
The NHS Trust will now look at a social enterprise scheme which could see some services kept in the community but with 500 jobs and 240 beds at risk that was not enough to prevent unions considering industrial action.
“People are disappointed, very upset and angry and I believe there is a strong possibility there will be some form of industrial action in future,” said Francis O’Ryan, Unison spokesman.
The Chief Executive of the Trust said he justified the cuts by putting them into the context of having to save some £9.6m and balancing that with how to best offer care services.
“The models of care we used to reshape the services are those that the government, through the Department of Health, commends being good ways of running mental health services,” said Jeff James. He added, that by putting more people into specialist teams in the community, services can be offered to people where they want them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A further round of consultation is now planned before the changes are implemented.