We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Lib Dems Slam ‘Shocking Excuse’ as Bureaucracy Blamed for Weller Wing Replacement Delay

November 13, 2020 9:20 AM

Questions raised by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats this week revealed that health bosses blame 'bureaucracy' for the ongoing delay in delivering replacement mental health inpatient care in Bedford, three years on from the closure of Weller Wing.

Dean CroftsBedford Borough Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Cllr Dean Crofts challenged NHS representatives at the latest meeting of the Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee over the lack of progress in replacing much-needed mental health inpatient beds. A report to the committee by East London NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Commissioning Collaborative states that they have 'started to engage' with service users and carers about their requirements for inpatient care locally, and that 'a questionnaire has been drafted.'

Since the closure of Weller Wing on the Bedford Hospital site in 2017, mental health patients and their carers have had to travel to Houghton Regis, Luton or more distant locations for inpatient care. Cllr Crofts asked why, with the report stating that a project like this takes three years to deliver, work is only beginning now, and was told that it was due to 'bureaucracy.'

Commenting, Cllr Crofts said: "It is a scandal that it has taken three years for consultation with service users on this crucial issue to even begin. The closure of Weller Wing and the loss of all inpatient mental health beds in Bedford Borough was a serious blow to service users and their families. At the time we were told by health bosses that work on replacing those beds was a priority. Yet it's only starting now, with the excuse being 'bureaucracy.' That is utterly shocking.'

"With an estimated three year timescale for a project like this, it looks like a replacement for Weller Wing will end up taking at least six years. That's appalling, and it's time for NHS leaders to treat this with the urgency that patients and their loved ones deserve, and they continue to live with the ongoing impact of the absence of local mental health inpatient care."

You can read the report to the Bedford Borough Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, and watch a video recording of the meeting, here. Mental Health Inpatient Care is Item 6, and the discussion of the item in the video recording begins at 1:17:45 of the video.