MENTAL health chiefs have strongly defended their proposals to deliver care in the community.

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) has also given its full assurance that wards will not shut until the new system is up and running.

Currently about half of the patients staying in the three mental health wards at the Royal Bolton Hospital are detained under the Mental Health Act — also known as being under section.

Gill Green, director of operations and nursing at GMW, says community staffing teams will be ready for the hand over, if plans are approved.

Ms Green added: “No bed based reduction will go ahead until seven day working has been put in place.”

GMW has also stressed the reduction of hospital beds will not result in any patients being sent out Bolton, Trafford or Salford for treatment.

Ms Green added: “We have a robust management system in place. There may have been placements of that nature in the past but that is not the case now.

“We can provide all specialist services within the GMW footprint.”

The CCG will make a decision, after the public consultation ends on Sunday, at its board meeting in May.