From Southwark Keep Our NHS Public: SLaM could axe 19 beds for older peoplePosted: December 23, 2011
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?