ANGRY campaigners have slammed controversial plans to slash the number of long-stay care beds at Dykebar Hospital.
They are angry at moves to put more patients out of beds and into care in the community.
Protesters have called for the present delivery of mental health services at the Paisley hospital to be maintained.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde bosses want to replace a significant number of adult mental health continuing care beds in a radical shake-up of the service.
And they propose replacing the axed beds with alternative forms of care accommodation and support in the community.
Under the plans, health chiefs also want to move adult acute mental health admission beds from the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, to a more modern, purpose-built, single-room accommodation at Dykebar Hospital.
These plans have also sparked fury among patients who want to see the retention of mental health services at ward 2 at the RAH.
They argue that the current location is more accessible and less stigmatised than Dykebar.
Health chiefs also propose to re-provide older people’s mental health continuing care beds from Dykebar Hospital to higher quality accomodation within an NHS Partnership bed model with the independent sector.
They also want to transfer low secure learning disability forensic services from Dykebar Hospital to Leverndale Hospital in Glasgow.
One member of the public wrote to the health board expressing their fears over reducing the number of beds at Dykebar Hospital.
“I think that the current delivery of mental health services at Dykebar Hospital should be retained,” he said.
“I am deeply concerned about the effect on wellbeing of patients and morale of staff of proposed moves.”
Another agreed with the care in the community policy but said the size of the planned reduction at Dykebar was not practical.
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board carried out a thorough public consultation on modernising and improving mental health services.
They held six public meetings across the health authority including one at Charleston Centre, Paisley, on May 13.
One member of the public wrote to the health board asking for existing services at Dykebar to be improved and maintained while another was concerned about the scale of bed reductions at Dykebar Hospital.
They also wanted the hospital to be developed for other mental health services, including the consolidation of beds from both Leverndale and Dykebar in the Dykebar site.
But health bosses say the radical changes would modernise the service and provide patients with better care.
In a report to the health board, health bosses said historically there has been a lack of investment in community-based services and an over-reliance on care in hospital settings, reflected in a high number of inpatient beds.
They pointed out that local people who experience mental illness are more likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment, compared to other parts of the country.
And they said it means that people living in Renfrewshire are not currently able to access the same range and type of community based mental health services available to people living in Greater Glasgow.
They argued that many hospital services are currently based in older accommodation that no longer meets the needs of service users and staff.
Health chiefs said they have consulted fully with the public, community and service user groups, MSPs, GPs and other stakeholders.
The Independent Scrutiny Panel raised no major concerns abut the public consultation process.
Anne Hawkins, Director of Mental Health, recommended the proposals to the board.
“Implementation of the proposals will achieve significant improvements to the quality of environment for NHS patients,” she said.
“There is an opportunity to consolidate adult acute mental health services for Renfrewshire in modern, single-room accommodation at Dykebar, with significant upgraded accomodation being made available for this client group.
“The proposals to commission NHS partnership beds for older people’s continuing care services offers the opportunity for patients to be cared for in a modern, homely environment.
The plans approved by Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board will now be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for approval.