St Clement's move to ease bed pressure

MOVING Suffolk's mental health beds away from St Clement's Hospital would free up beds at the under pressure Ipswich Hospital, it was claimed today.The Suffolk Mental Health Partnership wants to move the majority of its services to redundant areas of Ipswich Hospital's Heath Road site - and its chief executive Mark Halladay said the new system would ease pressure on hospital beds.

MOVING Suffolk's mental health beds away from St Clement's Hospital would free up beds at the under pressure Ipswich Hospital, it was claimed today.

The Suffolk Mental Health Partnership wants to move the majority of its services to redundant areas of Ipswich Hospital's Heath Road site - and its chief executive Mark Halladay said the new system would ease pressure on hospital beds.

The Star revealed on Tuesday how crushing pressure for beds meant the hospital had none available on 12 out of the first 20 days in June, and that during the first half of the year it was on its highest bed alert on four days out of every ten.

Mr Halladay said: “At the moment there are a lot of people on older wards, people with dementia problems and people who go through accident and emergency with mental health problems at the hospital who, with closer partnership working, would be moved to our services.

“Research shows 30 to 40per cent of people using general hospital care have some undisclosed mental health problem, manifesting itself in physical symptoms, or have a psychological illness with linked physical symptoms.”

The £21million planned mental health services move includes building two new wards and converting an existing building into two others at Ipswich Hospital, building one new ward at St Clement's and converting a ward at Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital site.

Most Read

They would replace all the existing facilities at St Clement's and the one ward at West Suffolk Hospital, which are now out of date and do not meet modern standards.

The majority of the St Clement's site will be put up for sale. The project, which could be complete by 2010, will be funded 50/50 by money from the Government and money raised by the partnership through the sale of assets.

Mr Halladay said the changes would improve patient privacy and safety, result in less patients being sent out of the county for treatment, save £1.5m running costs a year and reduce the stigma attached to mental health care.

Do you support the partnership's plans to move? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter