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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Anna Whittaker

Woman’s fight to keep North Nottinghamshire mental health unit open

A Nottinghamshire woman says plans to close a mental health unit in North Nottinghamshire are “totally wrong”.

Jean Cullen, who suffers from generalised anxiety and depression, has been a patient in both Bassetlaw Hospital, Worksop, and Millbrook Mental Health Unit, near Sutton in Ashfield.

There are controversial proposals to close mental health facilities at Bassetlaw Hospital, impacting 39 beds across two mixed-gender wards.

If the plans are approved by Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) next week, the beds would move the area’s inpatient services for adults and older people’s mental healthcare to two sites 15 miles away, near Mansfield.

Healthcare managers say the change is needed because the Bassetlaw facilities are no longer adequate, but refurbishing them or building a replacement at the hospital is not good value for money.

Jean, 70, has set up a petition ‘Stop the closure of the mental health unit in Bassetlaw hospital’, which has gained almost 2,500 signatures.

She is concerned about how family members would travel to visit the other sites, at Sherwood Oaks, Mansfield and at Millbrook, Sutton, which is on the site of King’s Mill Hospital.

She said: “Two years ago I had a second breakdown and I was sent to Millbrook. I was in a terrible state.

“Eventually I got sent back to Bassetlaw and I felt much better, my husband could walk there to come and see me.

“It’s hellish to get to Mansfield especially for people who don’t have a car, it is miles and miles away.

“It’s bad enough when you’ve gone out of your mind and you don’t know what’s going to happen to you.

“I wanted to be near to home, it makes you feel better inside.”

Jean, who said she has written to the Prime Minister on the issue.

Jean, of Worksop, added: “I feel as if I’m hitting my head on a brick wall.

“The units should stay in Bassetlaw, it is totally wrong what they’re doing. These decisions need to be made by someone who has been there. They have no right to shut it down.

“They should modernise the facilities they’ve already got. I’m fighting for everyone, not just myself.”

Explaining the proposals, Idris Griffiths, the CCG’s Accountable Officer, told a Nottinghamshire County Council Health Scrutiny meeting that the facilities at Bassetlaw were “inadequate to say the least”.

He added: “We costed out refurbishment and new builds and it was between £10m and £20m roughly.

“To put this amount of money in for the sake of 100 people a year from Bassetlaw is disproportionate.”

Bassetlaw CCG’s Governing Body is set to make a final decision on the proposals at its meeting on July 20.

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