Cuts to beds in mental health wards in Brentwood

The number of beds at mental health wards in Brentwood is set to be cut in moves labelled by health bosses as “modernisation”. But the chief executive of a local charity has called the proposals “disgusting”.

Across the NHS South West Essex area 36 beds in mental health services are set to close – including those at four Brentwood homes.

Care services provided at the Firs Periphery House, Greenwoods, Lyndhurst and the Bramleys centres in Brentwood, as well as Weymarks in Laindon, are set to see the reduction.

South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT), which is responsible for mental health services, is carrying out a consultation on the issue.


Health bosses say that they are reducing ward-based services and increasing home treatment.

Susan Nockles, chief executive of Brentwood Mind, said: “The people in those homes need a real high level of care. If they are closing beds there it is disgusting.

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“Eventually they will probably sell them off and build houses like they did at Warley. Mental health is the Cinderella of the NHS.”

Dr Patrick Geoghegan, chief executive of SEPT, said: “Patient care is still at the heart of everything we do and patients who currently reside in the rehabilitation beds have been assessed or are in the process of being assessed under the care criteria by social workers.

He added: “Patients will be found care packages based on their own individual clinical needs which must come first. Patients, families, carers and advocates will be involved in working with us and the majority of patients will feel more secure in their home environment where they will receive appropriate community support.”

Simon Lawton-Smith, head of policy at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “The important thing is any reduction in inpatient beds is matched by a development of good quality, individualised support services in the local community.”

He added that the number of beds for psychiatric patients has fallen from around 150,000 in the 1950s to about 28,000 today.