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Mental health bed cuts 'unacceptable'

October 1, 2008 11:51 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has today criticised proposed changes to mental health service provision in South Lakes as 'insufficient' to meet the needs of local people.

The proposed changes, outlined in a consultation document released by Cumbria Primary Care Trust, suggest a dramatic reduction in the number of places in inpatient care from 179 to 151 beds - a loss of 28 beds - 27 of which are set to be axed from wards serving South Cumbria. Presently nearly 240 mental health beds are occupied by patients from Cumbria in facilities both in and outside the county. Many of the cuts come in the form of beds used by Cumbrians in wards in Lancashire. However while the document highlights the large cost of out of area care, it makes no mention of replacing these services within the county.

After submitting his formal response to the document, Mr Farron commented: "I am outraged by the proposed cuts and appalled that once again the South Lakes would become the loser in the 'geographical lottery' of mental health care provision.

"The Cumbria Primary Care Trust is very clear about the cuts they are planning but very vague on the supposed new improvements that would replace lost services. I am calling on the trust for greater clarification on many areas of the document, including proposed changes to finance and social care costs, which I believe to be extremely unclear and insufficiently detailed."