THE Bede Wing is to close as part of a shake-up of mental health services in South Tyneside, it has been confirmed.
The unit, which is based in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital, is to close following a consultation process.
Also axed is ward 18 at the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, where elderly patients with psychiatric problems are treated, and The Leas rehabilitation ward, run by Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (NTW).
Patients will be transferred to the new Hopewood Park mental health hospital, being built in Ryhope, Sunderland, which is replacing the city’s old Cherry Knowle Hospital.
The decision was announced yesterday, although no time-scale has been put on the closures yet.
Health officials say the changes are part of a bid to provide more and better services in the community for adults with mental health needs.
The moves follow a public consultation organised by the NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for the planning and buying-in of healthcare and health services in the borough.
At a meeting of the CCG’s governing body at Bede’s World in Jarrow yesterday, the public feedback from the consultation was considered and agreement given to support a phased implementation of changes.
Dr James Gordon, clinical director for mental health at NHS South Tyneside CCG, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend a public meeting, return a survey, write to us, or contact us with their views.
“The views and comments have been extremely valuable in helping us shape these proposals to ensure we are making changes to provide better care for people with specialist mental health issues. From the feedback we know people recognised the challenges we face to improve local services, and wanted us to do so, but highlighted that issues such as travel and transport, ensuring crisis situations were quickly dealt with, links and support for families and carers, and how we work with the police and ensure a place of safety were all areas of high importance.
“We have agreed that the proposals will go ahead, but in a phased way.
“I want to reassure the public that we will closely monitor how the changes are implemented, to ensure they are in-line with the conditions we have set and the feedback we have received from the public.
“There are three main areas of work we will finalise before moving forward.
“These include finalising flexible transport arrangements that are responsive to the individual needs of carers and their families, improving connections with Northumbria Police, and further engagement work with carers and families to gauge the impact of the improvements we have proposed.”
Full governing body report which includes the public feedback, is available on the CCG website at www.southtynesideccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/my-life/.
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