Union opposes closure of ‘essential’ mental health units in Mansfield and Gedling

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UNISON Opposes closure of ‘Essential’ Mental Health Rehabilitation Units in Mansfield and Gedling.

UNISON is calling upon Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to put a halt to plans to close two mental health rehabilitation units serving the north and south of Nottinghamshire as well as the City.

The Union contributed their views to the public consultation which closed last Friday.

Heather Close is an 18-bedded unit based in Mansfield serving North Nottinghamshire and Broomhill House is a 12 bed unit providing mental health rehabilitation for the City of Nottingham and the south of the County.

Both services are highly valued by service users and staff and both services are under threat. ‘Friends of Broomhill’ is a group set up by relatives and carers to protect the facility and UNISON say that they are happy to add their support.

The group’s e-petition has already gathered over 2,000 signatures opposing the closure and the group are angry at what they feel is an overlooking of their views.

UNISON Branch Chair, Andrea Dickens, said: “Our concern is that doesn’t appear to be a plan for that proportion of patients who don’t fit into either acute, intensive care or into direct placement in the community.

“Some people are in transition and that means they need a safe and secure space where they can get well enough to go back out into the community.

“What we are hearing from service users; relatives and workers is that the beds that these units provide are absolutely vital to ensure that service users have the full range of care available throughout the term of their condition. If we lose them now, we will almost certainly end up recreating them through more expensive and less expert private sector provision.”

UNISON Regional Officer Dave Ratchford added: “Everybody involved in this that has direct experience of these two essential units seems to think it’s a terrible idea.

“They all agree that there must be change and that resources must shift to emphasise community rehabilitation – but this is swinging from one extreme to another.”

He added that most people who experience mental health difficulties go through a process of recovery and UNISON agrees that it is right that they be rehabilitated in the community as soon as possible.

The union says the two units could be transformed into Community Rehabilitation Units that would have the advantage of bed spaces, but also outreach into the community touching on prevention and providing seamless care for service users from crisis through to reintegration into communities.