From Southwark Keep Our NHS Public: SLaM could axe 19 beds for older people

Cuts would save 1.2 million a year says Trust

Concerns have been raised over a psychiatric hospital’s proposal to cut bed numbers to save cash. Health campaigners have criticised South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) over the potential axing of 19 beds for older people at the Maudsley hospital in Denmark Hill.

SLaM estimates the move which will leave it with 62 beds for older people would save it around 1.2 million per year. A spokesman said £400 000 of the cash saved could be used to start a home treatment team that would visit patients in their homes.

Tom White veteran health campaigner and leading member of Southwark Pensioners Action Group (SPAG) has spoken out against the proposal. He said; “This is clearly a cut to save money and once again it is the most vulnerable people in our community who are going to be hit. SPAG gives its full support to the home support team but there is no way in the world the support team is going to provide the same level of care as is received by those on the ward. It is insulting to suggest they can be treated the same way home as they would be in the hospital.”

The SLaM spokesman said the trust would hold a consultation before going ahead with its bed cutting proposals. He said: “We are consulting on creating a new home treatment team for older people in Lambeth and Southwark. The team would provide treatment to people at risk of developing acute mental illness. It would help to prevent the stress and disruption often associated with an admission to hospital. Similar care models have been successfully introduced in other parts of the UK and anyone needing hospital treatment would still be admitted.”

The spokesman said the new home treatment team would leave the trust requiring fewer hospital beds for older adults. The consultation includes proposals to reduce these from 81 to 62. This could save £1.2 million with £400,000 being re-invested in the home treatment team.

Do you agree with proposals to reduce the number of beds at the hospital?

9 Comments on “From Southwark Keep Our NHS Public: SLaM could axe 19 beds for older people”

  1. Stefano says:

    When I became unwell I was admitted to the LEO ward, I was very lucky as it was much better than most wards I have seen friends and a member of my family stay in, when it came for me to be discharged I didn’t want to leave, the care I was receiving from my community mental health team was awful and was making me worse. I believe it shouldn’t be about cutting services it should be about improving them.

  2. Stefano says:

    Then they should use all the money they will save on cutting beds on the home treatment team, as i said earlier they are using it as a smoke screen to make more cuts and they are being quite clever about it because they know a lot of people don’t like staying in hospital.

  3. Stefano says:

    Thats why we need to improve it and not cut beds and also have a very good home treatment team.

    • Jean Cozens says:

      i would prefer to go to a non-medical crisis house, They do exist! There is one in Leeds, and I beleive Bradford is setting one up. Also there used to be one in Wokingham but they are not taking overnight guests anymore. They did so for over 20 years.

      • Stefano says:

        That sounds good, I think everyone should have a choice of what kind of care they receive,but I dont agree with cutting services in the guise of offering people better treatment.

      • Jean Cozens says:

        I think if you actually asked older people what they wanted you’d find most of them would prefer to stay in their own homes and have the care team come round if necessary. That’s certainly what I would prefer. If better, more humane treatment were offered in hospital perhaps I’d feel differently.

  4. Stefano says:

    We need beds and a home treatment team, there are not enough hospital beds and using the excuse that they are going to create a home treatment team is a smoke screen to making cuts.

    • Jean Cozens says:

      I agree with you Stefano that some people need a break from their home environment and more care than a stressed relative can provide. I just question whether hospital as it is currently set up actually provides this.

  5. Jean Cozens says:

    re: Cutting beds for older people. I think setting up a home treatment team is a good idea. Providing care in their own homes is much less disruptive and more respectful and humane than being taken into hospital. Hospitals at present are not therapeutic environments. I’ve been an inpatient myself and quite frankly would do anything to avoid repeating the experience.

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