Controversial plans to close mental health wards in Bassetlaw Hospital edge closer to going ahead

Two mental health wards in Worksop are edging closer to being permanently closed.

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:38 am

Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop currently has 39 beds across two mixed-gender wards with dormitories separated by curtains.

Controversial proposals to close the beds would move inpatient services for adults and old people’s mental healthcare to new sites, 15 miles away, in Mansfield.

Bassetlaw Clinicial Commissioning Group’s governing body is set to make a final decision on the proposals at its meeting on July 20.

The hospital at Sherwood Oaks Business Park in Mansfield.

Papers which will go before the governors have recommended the plans be given the go ahead.

But serious concerns were raised by Nottinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee on Tuesday about how staff and family members would travel to visit the new sites Sherwood Oaks, in Mansfield, which is currently being refurbished, and Millbrook, in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

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Sherwood Oaks will have two female wards and two male wards, that would be for adults, and there are 30 beds at Millbrook Mental Health Unit, that would become a specialist hub for older patients.

Plans to close mental health wards at Bassetlaw Hospital, in Worksop will be considered next week.

Chair of the meeting, councillor Sue Saddington said: “I have great concerns for the people of Bassetlaw. Local services should be for local people.

“Once lost they will not return. I would rather be in dormitory accommodation and near my relatives.

“They need to look at the transport issue. It is chaotic at the moment.”

Worksop north councillor Callum Bailey added: “In terms of transport, it takes 30 minutes from Beckingham to Worksop.

“If you move that to Mansfield, that’s an hour. If you don’t have a car it increases to two-and-a-half hours hours one way.”

Worksop east councillor Glynn Gilfoyle said: “That facility doesn’t meet CQC guidelines and it states in the report that it hasn’t met guidelines since 2013.

“It seems the decision has been made as they are not going to build a facility [Sherwood Oaks] and leave it empty.”

The CCG’s accountable officer, Idris Griffiths, told the meeting the body had taken into account the results of a survey with feedback from hundreds of residents, as well as a local protest petition with 2,500 signatures.

But he said facilities at Bassetlaw were “inadequate to say the least” and added that “transport arrangements” will be put into place for patients and their families before any changes happen.

The meeting heard around 100 patients from Bassetlaw use the wards in Worksop each year, with the majority of patients coming from Nottingham. Others also coming from elsewhere in the county.

Mr Idris added: “We costed out refurbishment and new builds and it was between £10m and £20m roughly.

“To put this amount of money in for the sake of 100 people a year from Bassetlaw is disproportionate.”

He added that more than £4m in the next four years will be put entirely into mental health services in Bassetlaw.

Julie Attfield, of Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to improve care for people when they are most vulnerable.

“They can have access to en-suites, physio, outside space and visiting suites.”

The committee asked the CCG to come back to its September meeting with a detailed travel plan and full results of the survey.