Mental health wards to move from Burnley to Blackburn

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MENTAL health inpatient wards at Burnley General Hospital are set to move to Blackburn under new plans announced by health bosses.

The proposals, to be implemented over the next five years, will see wards at Burnley close and part of the Royal Blackburn Hospital remodelled to take inpatients needing treatment for mental health issues from across East Lancashire.

Last month the Burnley Express revealed how plans for a new £35m. mental health facility in Hapton had been scrapped in a bid to cut costs.

Under the new recongfiguration plans there will be four inpatient sites across Lancashire including, a new unit at Whyndyke Farm, Blackpool, the redevelopment of Royal Blackburn Hospital, redevelopment of Pathfinders Drive in Lancaster and a new site in Central Lancashire, which has yet to be agreed.

A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the beds at Burnley General, said: “People living in Burnley would go to Blackburn for acute inpatient mental health services. It is worth noting that people living elsewhere in East Lancashire – Accrington, Rossendale, Clitheroe, etc. – already travel to Blackburn for acute inpatient mental health services and that a full range of community services is available in all parts of Lancashire  which has resulted in fewer people needing to go into hospital.”

Health bosses said the building currently used at Burnley General is inadequate for inpatient care.

The spokesman added: “The buildings currently used for mental health in-patient care throughout East Lancashire are inadequate, tend to be multi-storey buildings with no outdoor space, dormitory wards, and with an inadequate amount of space for care and therapy for people who are very unwell.

“The buildings that Lancashire Care owns on the Blackburn site are more modern buildings with more space around them and are buildings that are better able to be completely redeveloped. The building that Lancashire care use on the Burnley site is a multi-storey building surrounded by other hospital buildings and no potential to be redeveloped to provide a modern mental health care setting. The proposal agreed by all the Lancashire primary care trusts is to redevelop the Blackburn site for the East Lancashire mental health in-patient service as, when developed, this will provide a high quality service at an affordable cost to commissioners.”