South Tynesiders have just over a month left to have their say on the future of mental health services at the borough’s district hospital.
Proposals put forward include closing the hospital-based specialist mental health in-patient beds at the Harton Lane site in South Shields.
These are the Bede Wing and the Leas, both stand-alone units in the hospital’s grounds, and ward 18 in the main hospital building.
Under the proposals, patients will receive mental health care at the new multi-million-pound Hopewood Park Hospital at Ryhope, Sunderland, due to open this summer.
Over the last few weeks, three public consultation meetings have been staged, at the Living Waters Church in Laygate and the Customs House in Mill Dam, both South Shields, and Bede’s World in Jarrow.
As part of the plans more support would be given for people to be treated in their own homes, rather than in a hospital environment. Now the public have until Monday, March 17, to offer their input before a final decision is made by NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
The former is the new body responsible for planning and buying local health services, and the latter is the main provider of specialist mental health services in the borough.
Dr David Hambledon, chief officer of the commissioning group, said: “The changes that we are talking about are about services that support people with complex mental health issues like severe depression, schizophrenia, psychosis and personality disorders.
“We have been looking carefully at the services needed to support people with these sorts of conditions, and we would like to organise them in a different way.
“We want to improve and enhance our specialist community mental treatment services.”
To comment on the proposals, go to www.southtynesideccg.nhs.uk/get- involved/my-life