Council chiefs step up fight to save Bassetlaw Hospital's mental health ward from closure
Council chiefs in Worksop are upping the fight to stop some of Bassetlaw's most mentally ill patients from being moved to a different facility 13 miles away.
Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves has branded plans to close Bassetlaw Hospital’s mental health ward and relocate the service to two separate facilities in Mansfield a ‘ready-baked’ solution that could put patients at risk.
He has now urged Bassetlaw’s Clinical Commissioning Group to explore ‘every conceivable option’ and work to identify an alternative site that could be utilised in order to retain mental health services in the district.
Residents are also encouraged to speak out on the plans in an ongoing consultation which will run until April 18.
“This is certainly not what local people want,” said Coun Greaves. "And across the council there has been widespread cross-party support to see these services kept in Bassetlaw.
“The Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the need for further investment in mental health services and fundamentally we do not want to see them transferred.
"But yet again we see facilities moving outside the district.”
A former patient, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Guardian that a 13-mile move to Mansfield would be’’unthinkable’ as mental health was already on a ‘downward spiral’ due to the pandemic.
Currently male and female patients at Bassetlaw Hospital share Ward B2, which consists of four single rooms with separate bays for men and women.
At Manfield’s Sherwood Oaks, a new facility which is scheduled to open later this year, male and female wards would be separate with en-suite rooms.
Elderly patients suffering with dementia in Bassetlaw’s Ward B1 would also be moved to King’s Mill Hospital.
The former Ward B2 patient said: “The ward works well as it is and I as a service user would rather share a bay with four other patients than have to go to Mansfield should I ever need another admission.
"With the Covid pandemic and mental health of many declining it will be a devastating loss for Bassetlaw.
“Patients and visitors will have to travel further and patients will be further from home - and we won’t have a mental health ward anymore.”
Coun Greaves admitted that Wards B1 and B2 weren’t currently ‘up to modern standards’ but added: “The challenge is simple, then - working collectively with the public sector across the board, we look for an alternate site in Bassetlaw so that these vital services can be retained.”
In a joint statement, the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Bassetlaw CCG said: "NHS Bassetlaw CCG recognises that change to inpatient mental health services for adults and older people is needed to deliver safe, effective, high-quality services and improve the care experience of people who use these services and their families.
"Having considered a range of solutions, the CCG believes that a better service could be delivered in future by providing adult inpatient mental health services at refurbished accommodation at Sherwood Oaks and older people's services within a refurbished unit at Millbrook Mental Health Unit, both run by Nottinghamshire Healthcare and located in Mansfield.
"The CCG now wants to hear views from people across Bassetlaw on the proposals so that any future service is fully informed by this conversation and shaped by local people.”
You can view the consultation here.