PLANS to close 50 mental health beds at the Royal Bolton Hospital could be threatened after talks between between health chiefs broke down.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Bolton, Salford and Trafford were in discussions with Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Trust to move services into the community.

But now Trafford CCG has backed out because of strong opposition from local councillors.

If the trust’s proposals go ahead, patients will be looked after in their homes — with a 24/7 on-call service and three visits a day by clinicians — or they will be taken to Woodlands Hospital in Little Hulton.

The changes will save £2.1 million, but health chiefs have committed to invest £1.15 million in community services, including £307,000 in the home-based treatment team.

Another £5.86 million will be spent rebuilding the Woodlands site.

Trust chiefs say the consultation will still go ahead, but admit “affordability” is a problem now that Trafford CCG has withdrawn. Bev Humphrey, chief executive of the trust, was “disappointed” with Trafford CCG’s decision.

She said: “We are all working very hard to find a solution.

“I would want to assure people that this does not mean that plans for Bolton and Salford are jeopardised. Our CCG colleagues there remain very supportive of the consultation process, which does not conclude until the end of March.”

William Gallagher, governor for Bolton at the trust, added: “Bed closures are a bad idea and I think Trafford’s move gives us a good inkling about the way this consultation is going to go.”

Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on Bolton Council’s health scrutiny committee, said the consultation should be halted, but there was still a need to redesign services.

He added: “People need to stop playing politics with the NHS.

“I agree with the intent of this consultation for community based services. What we need to remember is that the intention was to reinvest money saved from bed closures into community services.

“It’s not about savings, it’s about improving services and caring for people in their own homes.”