Wednesday 24 April 2024
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Travel plan to be presented to councillors after controversial decision to close mental health ward

A travel plan to help families affected by the closure of a local mental health unit will be presented to councillors next week.

A decision on the plans was made in July by Bassetlaw’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to move inpatient services to Sherwood Oaks in Mansfield or Millbrook Mental Health Unit, near Sutton in Ashfield.

The CCG said facilities at Bassetlaw need updating, but that it made more financial sense to move services to a better unit further away rather than rebuild them on site.

When plans were presented to councillors earlier this year, they expressed concerns over how families and staff would travel to the new units.

Now, a travel plan has been created to “mitigate the travel difficulties likely to be experienced by carers, family and staff”.

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The travel plan includes financial support in “exceptional” circumstances and non-financial support in the form of a visitor’s guide “to help carers and families navigate travel to the mental health units in Mansfield”.

The group which set up the travel plan on behalf of the CCG says it undertook “extensive engagement” with people affected by the move.

A report stated: “Whilst it is not the statutory responsibility of the CCG to provide assistance to carers and families to visit patients, the CCG has agreed that on an exceptional basis, consideration ought to be given to offering enhanced support for those most affected by the relocation of inpatient mental health beds from Bassetlaw to Millbrook and Sherwood Oaks.”

The financial support would include reimbursement of mileage minus the distance which would’ve usually been travelled to get to the Bassetlaw units.

Councillors will be asked to comment on the plans during the health scrutiny meeting on October 12 to “determine if the proposed change is in the interests of the local health service”.

During the July meeting, Councillor Sue Saddington (Cons) said she had “great concerns for the people of Bassetlaw” and warned that once the service is closed, “they will not return”.

A petition opposing the plans, which was set up by former patient Jean Cullen, gained almost 2,500 signatures.

Jean said at the time: “It’s hellish to get to Mansfield especially for people who don’t have a car, it is miles and miles away.

“It’s bad enough when you’ve gone out of your mind and you don’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

As part of the agreement, Bassetlaw CCG will invest £4m in community-based services to support all patients with mental health needs to access support.

The mental health units at Bassetlaw are set to close in May 2022.

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