Return local inpatient care to the women of North Lancashire
At first glance Beds in the Orchard looks like a small local issue. After all, what concern should be 6 female inpatient beds in one small psychiatric unit in a one small city be to people elsewhere in the country?
However; what has happened at The Orchard it is indicative of a much wider problem across the country with the chronic underfunding of Mental Health services impacting on the health and wellbeing of thousands of people and communities. It is indicative of the hard price being paid by women and their families nationally; as they find that their local inpatient psychiatric care has disappeared, leading to them being separated from their support at the time when they need it most.
Lancashire Care NHS Trust removed these female beds without consultation or notice. It is having a direct impact on the wellbeing of female service users and their families in North Lancashire. This 'temporary' closure was planned until at least March 2015, but will last longer if the Trust's new hospital The Harbour isn't opened on time. This is a long time to force women away from their families when they need inpatient care.
Closing The Orchard to women and sending them 30-60+ miles away for care:-
- Discriminates against women
- Deters women from seeking help, which can lead to increased detentions under the Mental Health Act
- Harms families, especially children.
- Puts a heavy financial burden onto families with substantial travel costs to visit their relative.
- Causes the women uneccessary distress and anxiety by separating them from their support networks.
- Can lead to women being discharged too early, increasing the chance of relapse and readmission.
We believe that inpatient psychiatric care local to home should be provided to both men and women. The Trust say this is temporary, but cannot say when the beds will be returned. We are petitioning that local inpatient psychiatric care is returned to the women of North Lancashire now. There is more information on our blog. www.bedsintheorchard.blogspot.co.uk
- Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
Reverse the decision to close local inpatient psychiatric beds for women at The Orchard in Lancaster and pledge not remove this inpatient provision again in the future.
Isolating women from their friends, families and support networks when unwell impacts their well-being and causes unnecessary distress. Temporary or not, the closure should never have happened as the needs of male service users are not more important than female service users and the impact on families, both financial and emotional, is real and harmful.
We recommend reopening these beds to women as soon as possible.
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