The all male Riley ward at Meadowbrook is to close and ten beds from the facility are to be encompassed into the mixed sex Eagleton ward, in the latest round of cuts to mental health services in Salford and Bolton.
Even though there will be no job losses, trade union UNISON, which represents workers at the Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust today slated the move…
"We are already at 98% occupancy, and losing over fifty mental health beds in Bolton, Salford and Trafford could push the service into crisis, even if comunity services are expanded" said James Gold, UNISON branch secretary
"1500 mental health beds have closed in England in the last two years" he added "Nationally we are in crisis. Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust's proposals are not good for patients or their families. Staff are telling us they will oppose these proposals. This Government needs to give its mental health services the money we need to provide decent care."
The move towards more mixed sex wards goes against recent good practice
which has seen the NHS provide more same sex wards in hospitals. But Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Operations for Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, argued that it was in line with national guidelines and didn't deny that the ward closure cuts were going ahead…
"The Care Quality Commission defines single sex accommodation as men and women being cared for in separate bays or rooms and having their own toilet facilities" she explained "Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has eliminated mixed sex accommodation in our organisation but does have mixed sex wards and is fully complainant with strict Department of Health national guidelines."
Tomorrow, Saturday 7th December, there is a public campaign meeting at the Lancaster Suite at Bolton Town Hall, between 12noon and 1:30pm to discuss the cuts.
"We believe bed closures would be harmful for patients" campaigners state "Current occupancy rate in Bolton is 98%. The government believes 85% is a safe occupancy rate. Already we are 13% over-occupied. This would only get worse if beds closed. Patients and their families would have to travel miles. It would prolong recovery, reduce access to leave, reduce contact with family and friends.
"The ConDem Government has cut NHS funding by 5% every year, whilst expecting Trusts to provide the same service. This is impossible" they add "We believe that money should be returned to the NHS and that Greater Manchester West NHS Trust should refuse to pass on these cuts and keeps a full, local service."
See also previous Salford Star article: Salford Protests Against Mental Health Bed Cuts - click here