First of all, Beds in the Orchard would like to send an apology to Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. We have previously stated that the Trust closed 15 bed male ward in Burnley. It now turns out that Ward 18 held 22 beds. We are assuming that the Trust were happy with this misinformation as they haven't corrected it.
However, we think that the Trust owe Beds in the Orchard an apology for stating publicly on BBC Radio that these changes have not been for financial reasons.
In the above Lancashire Telegraph article from March this year, it states...
"Ward 18 was due to close this year, saving £720,000 for the Trust's in year 7.45million cost improvement plan. But it has been confirmed the plans are slightly behind schedule – though the ward is still expected to finally close this year"
This makes it quite clear that the closure was indeed for financial reasons. The article goes on further to state,
"Trust chiefs have been working on a programme to provide more community services, decreasing the need for in-patient beds."
We have submitted a FOI request to find out how the Crisis and other home treatment teams have been augmented in the East Lancs area to meet the needs of service users affected by this closure.
Finally, on the subject of the ward closure, the Trust says.
"The closure will only take place when it is clinically appropriate to do so."
We've heard that phrase before as we've been told that the 6 beds in The Orchard unit will revert back to female "when it is clinically appropriate to do so."
"Clinically appropriate", in our opinion, appears to be a meaningless phrase used to defend cuts to services. The female service users of North Lancashire appear to be the victims of these "clinically appropriate" decisions.