MENTAL health workers, patients and carers will make their final stand against plans to close 50 mental health beds at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Health chiefs will today make their decision on proposals to replace three wards at the hospital with extra beds at Woodlands Hospital in Little Hulton.
Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) wants fewer people to be admitted to mental health wards and instead receive care in their homes.
The shake-up will mean home care can be provided seven days a week in Bolton rather than five, thanks to a £560,000 investment in Bolton’s services.
Campaigners from Bolton Save Our Health Service will gather outside the Friends Meeting House ahead of the NHS Bolton Clinical Commisioning Group’s (CCG) board meeting where directors will decide whether to approve GMW’s plans.
Critics are worried about the reduced bed capacity, staffing levels in the new community service and the risk of patients being sent to other parts of the UK for hospital care.
Karen Reissmann, secretary, Bolton Save our Health Service campaign, said: “We have serious concerns that the proposed cuts will leave vulnerable patients without the services or beds they need at a time of crisis.
“The questions that were asked in the consultation were dishonest.
“If you ask people if they want to be cared for in their own home with the expansion of a community service, of course they will say yes. But if you asked them if they wanted hospital beds to be reduced, they would say no.”
Yet the CCG and GMW have defended the consultation.
Su Long, chief officer, said: “We used a range of methods to seek people’s views from online surveys to meetings where people asked questions to doctors and managers on the plans. We received over 150 comments and these have all been considered in our report being presented to board.”