Concern raised by campaigners over mental health service 'cuts'
NINETEEN beds for the mentally ill have been axed since the NHS Kent and Medway Partnership Trust was formed six years ago, says the Canterbury and Whitstable Stop the Cuts action group.
But since the NHS's Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team was set up in the same year the number of hospital admissions in Canterbury and Swale has risen from 281 to 297 a year.
The number of patients admitted to wards outside their normal area rose from 38 to 87.
Stop the Cuts spokesman Mary Sullivan warned: "When a person is at his or her lowest emotional ebb they are being pushed from pillar to post at a time when they most need stability and support.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
"These cuts to mental health provision are a concern to service users, relatives and staff.
"Although there has been some improvement in community care with the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Service – which is supposed to reduce admissions to hospital – admissions continue to increase when beds are being cut.
"The NHS and Social Care Trust should provide adequate care in and out of hospital. The cuts are undermining an essential service and must not go ahead."
NHS spokesman Sophie Lyon confirmed mental health centres Durham House in Herne Bay and Laurel House in Canterbury are to close but stressed the number of staff will not be cut.
She said: "Mobile working will mean staff spend more time with service users in the community and may lead to patients seeing mental health staff in existing health centres.
She added: "We wish to make it clear we are not looking at reducing mental health services in the Canterbury district in any way whatsoever. This remains a work in progress.
"As soon as we have identified the options open to us we will present these to service users to get their feedback. We do not expect to make changes before the end of the year."
A new adult inpatient unit at St Martin's Hospital, Canterbury, due to open in the autumn, will be used by patients from east Kent. Service users in Swale will be consulted about the future of their psychiatric intensive care in the next few months.
The trust is carrying out a public consultation into the care of adults over 65 with mental health problems.
It is expected to treat more of these in the community.
Keith Woods, also from Stop the Cuts, said: "If we think the cuts will be unacceptable we will launch petitions to help fight them and may organise a march for mental health.
"A lot of service users need encouragement to come forward and the Stop the Cuts Group is just the group to do it."
For details call Keith Woods on 07987 173049. For the public consultation see www.kmpt.nhs.uk/ opmhconsultation