MP attacked by health protestors

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has today been branded a disgrace after he said little can be done to save a string of doomed mental health services.Hundreds of patients are facing the loss of vital services in the most drastic round of cutbacks ever to face Suffolk's health service.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has today been branded a disgrace after he said little can be done to save a string of doomed mental health services.

Hundreds of patients are facing the loss of vital services in the most drastic round of cutbacks ever to face Suffolk's health service.

Mr Mole's response? “We'll have to see how it goes.”

Campaigners had hoped he would get behind them and help them save the day services in the town which are a lifeline to many.

One of the protestors, Michael Cox, chairman of the Friends of Kesgrave Day Hospital, said: “I am appalled at Mr Mole's attitude to health.

“The day hospitals and the community hospitals may not be in his constituency but their closure will have an impact on services in Ipswich.

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“We have written to him and not received a reply. I think he's a disgrace to Ipswich.”

As the subject of Suffolk's health service was raised in a House of Commons debate today, Mr Mole said he was disappointed that tomorrow , health bosses look set to approve the closure of Bridge House in Lower Brook Street and The Pines Therapy Centre at St Clements.

But when asked what he thought of the plans to treat people in their homes instead Mr Mole said: “We will have to see how it goes”

Elsewhere in the county, three mental health day hospitals and Old Fox House clubhouse in Stowmarket could also face the axe.

Mr Mole said: “It's obviously disappointing that the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust does not feel able to continue supporting these services because of its financial situation.”

The Hollies garden centre at St Clement's, which provides work opportunities for people with mental health problems, looks likely to be put out to tender to see if an alternative organisation can be found to continue running the same kind of service.

Mr Mole said: “I'm glad that they've listened to the concerns that I and others have expressed about The Hollies. It would be a shame to lose something that would be of assistance to the health service.”

He added that, while he is concerned by the recommendations to close Bridge House and The Pines he does not feel that there is much that can be done.

He said: “The trust says it wants to work with the voluntary sector to see what it can do to see that the people who used these services receive some kind of support. We will have to see how it goes.

“I don't believe there's anywhere else for the trusts to go to get any additional money.”

Commenting on Mr Cox's allegations, Mr Mole said: “I can't comment on Kesgrave because it's not in my constituency and I don't know anything about it. I find that comment particularly bizarre as I don't know who they are.”

He said he has done what he can for Bridge House but feels there is nothing else that will help.

“I've made my views known to the PCTs and the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust all along and have represented the views of the people at Bridge House and The Hollies to managers as they've been making up their minds.

“I don't think there's any more to be done. I've spoken to ministers again who declined to get involved in what they see as decisions that have to be taken locally.”

Speaking about the debate today in parliament, Mr Mole said: “I shall go along. It's unlikely that I will get an opportunity to speak but I shall go along and listen to what's being said. I will be very interested to see if Mr Yeo has any useful suggestions on what can be done to solve the problems, rather than just criticism.”

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