THE number of beds provided for psychiatric patients in Burton has been cut by a fifth since 2012 – while across the border a ‘pioneering’ psychiatric service has been announced for South Derbyshire patients.
The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health care in Burton, cut the number of beds for mental health patients from 130 in 2011-12 to 103 in 2013-14, the Mail can reveal.
It is a move which mental health campaigner Dr Matt Long branded ‘devastating’ while the trust claimed the beds were ‘not required’.
A spokesman for the trust said the move was part of a modernising process which ‘strengthened’ its services by allowing patients to be supported at home.
Psychiatric services for 24 patients were lost when Burton’s Margaret Stanhope Centre closed last year.
It means East Staffordshire psychiatric patients must now travel to Stafford or Tamworth if they need a bed.
Dr Matt Long, who was treated for obsessive compulsive disorder at the Margaret Stanhope Centre, said: “The closure of mental health institutions is having devastating consequences on the acutely ill and their families.
“If you are acutely mentally ill you need to be in a local hospital so that your friends and family can visit you. This is an inherent part of your recovery.”
The figures, which were released through a Freedom of Information request, came at the same time Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust announced plans for a ‘pioneering’ psychiatric liaison team to offer 24-hour support.
The announcements highlight the postcode lottery psychiatric patients face when attempting to find mental health support.
The liaison team, which would be based in the accident and emergency department and inpatient services at the Royal Derby Hospital, will be made up of medics with the trust’s mental health liaison team, alcohol liaison team and confusion team.
Dr Sheila Newport, chairman of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commission Group, said the move would bring the psychiatric and physical care patients needed under one roof.