Councillors call on health bosses to provide travel plan following controversial decision to close Worksop's mental health wards
Councillors have asked health bosses in Bassetlaw to return to its committee meeting to show them a thorough travel plan before it goes ahead with a planned move to close the mental health wards in Worksop.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee wants representatives from Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group to present comprehensive travel plans to address the needs of patients and visitors.
It comes after the CCG made the controversial decision to close two mixed-gender mental health wards in Bassetlaw Hospital with services being moved to Sherwood Oaks in Mansfield or Millbrook Mental Health Unit, near Sutton in Ashfield.
Serious concerns were raised by the health scrutiny committee at its meeting in July about the travel arrangements for patients and their visitors.
Many patients do not have the means to travel elsewhere for treatment and some live where there are poor public transport links.
The CCG had assured the committee that a family travel package will be available for residents, but the committee said a ‘fully-fledged plan’ would need to be agreed ahead of the move of local services.
Chairman of the committee, Councillor Sue Saddington, said: “Our principle concern is that inadequate travel arrangements would inflict additional stress upon patients and their families.
“Those who would have to travel out of their local area for treatment or to visit a patient would be left isolated and disenfranchised by inaccessible facilities, and their health would consequently be put at risk further.
"Ultimately, carers and staff themselves would also suffer additional pressures.
“We look forward to receiving a long-awaited travel plan, which meets the needs of patients, visitors, and staff, for the committee to consider”.
The CCG said it is further engaging further with patients, carers and families to produce a travel plan.
A CCG spokesman added: “This will enable the CCG to develop travel support proposals that will mitigate the impact of any relocation of inpatient services on those likely to be most affected. Making sure that we fully consider views about the types of travel support that may be helpful is important to us and something that we do not wish to rush.”
They added the CCG welcomes ‘the opportunity to continue dialogue’ with the health scrutiny committee.