We've spent this evening going over Claire's interview on BBC Radio Lancashire and the response to our campaign from Keith Dibble, the Deputy Director of the Lancashire Care NHS Trust.
We were going to post a long reply, but can actually summarise quite swiftly.
There were a number of mentions by Keith about the County, for example "Balance across the county" and "Cross county requirement".
If there is a cross county requirement then removing 15 male beds will have changed the balance across the county of male beds.
We'll be submitting a FOI request about how many men from the Burnley area are being treated in the west and north of the county.
Home treatment is indeed preferable. Sadly the crisis and home treatment teams are not augmented when beds are closed. Existing teams have an ever expanding case-load and less people are expected to look after more Service Users.
We doubt that when the male beds in Burnley were closed, the home treatment teams were expanded in that area and we doubt that when the female beds were closed in Lancaster that the home treatment teams were expanded in that area either.
Another Freedom of Information Request will be sent out tomorrow so we can confirm that to you.
(Our FOI person is going to have a busy day)
Beds in the Orchard has never suggested that people requiring PICU care etc. should be treated at The Orchard. We all have personal experience of being unwell and know that some women need to be treated in specialist units.
However the women being sent away from Lancaster for treatment do not all need specialist treatment and they would benefit more from local care.
It appears that the trust position is that the Clinical Priorities are caring for the men of North Lancashire after the balance across the county was tipped by the closure of male beds.
Length of Closure
Keith stated that it is "Not the intention for this to run for weeks and weeks."
This goes against information we have been given, but will be pleased if this turns out to be correct. We will continue to campaign for the female beds at The Orchard to be reopened until provision for women is restored and also to ensure that this statement from the trust is upheld.
We will continue to actively publicise the closure of the beds by the Trust and we will be further investigating at the treatment of women in Mental Health Services run by the Lancashire Care NHS Trust.
Keith said there were no financial reasons for the closure of beds. However, since the Trust has to deliver a 25% cut in expenditure as directed by the Department of Health, we suspect that financial pressures may well be involved.