£35m. mental health hospital plan is axed

girl on drugs in the bathroom
girl on drugs in the bathroom
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PLANS to build a multi-million-pound mental health hospital in Hapton have been axed by health bosses to save cash.

A £35m. facility for people across East Lancashire had been planned for the former Hepworths site being developed as part of the Burnley Bridge scheme.

But under new mental health reconfiguration plans for in-patient services, part of the Royal Blackburn Hospital will be redeveloped to accommodate 72 beds to cover East Lancashire while the Burnley hospital plan will be scrapped. A new facility with 154 beds will be built at Whyndyke Farm near Blackpool with two other sites in Lancaster and central Lancashire to house 18 beds each.

In 2006 and 2007 original plans were drawn up by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to provide four new in-patient hospitals in the county at a cost of £150m.

But after recommendations from the Government, NHS East Lancashire re-examined their mental health programme.

Mr Tim Ellis, health regional organiser for Unison, slammed the decision and said it had been done without public consultation.

“Health workers will be very concerned and indeed appalled at the abandonment of the proposals. It’s important in mental health that facilities are close to patients’ families, especially for the elderly and patients with dementia.

“We will be campaigning and lobbying for there to be a public consultation,” he said.

Dr Steve Ward, NHS Central Lancashire’s medical director, added: “Our detailed analysis indicates we need less in-patient beds in Lancashire than originally thought.”