Mental health beds to be axed in Brighton and Hove

About one in eight beds will be cut at the only NHS mental health hospital in Brighton and Hove. Twelve beds at Millview Hospital in Nevill Road, Hove, will go by the end of March.

Mental health chiefs in the city say the reduction at the hospital, which has 95 beds, is due to an increased focus on treatment in the community and at home.

Some councillors and experts say the move is “risky” without greater investment in community nurses and day centres.

The reduction will save Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs Millview, a reported £1.2 million.

It said it has been working with NHS Sussex to improve community mental health services.

A review into acute mental health bed provision found that patients stay in hospital for longer than average and more older people are admitted than is expected.

A spokeswoman for NHS Sussex said: “When somebody needs to be in hospital that will be available for them.

“For many people a hospital environment is not the best place for them to be.

“Improved support close to home can help people to stay connected to their family, friends and communities – aiding early recovery and mental health and wellbeing.”

The partnership has also announced that over-65s will now be treated at Millview rather than at Nevill Hospital, in Laburnum Avenue, Hove, unless they suffer from age-related conditions such as dementia.

Neil Holmes, chairman of the mental health action group at Brighton and Hove Link, the independent health and adult social care watchdog, said the reduction could lead to problems elsewhere if community care is not implemented correctly.

He said: “We do applaud having less people having to go to hospital. Hospital can be the last place people in crisis should be.”