A MENTAL health ward at Kidderminster Hospital has been axed as trust bosses press ahead with their plan to revamp services across Worcestershire.

Harvington Ward will close on Monday, November 7, as part of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust’s new model for its services in supporting adults with mental health issues.

But health campaigners believe removing Harvington Ward will leave mental health services in Wyre Forest in a “dangerous state”.

The trust developed a more “community-based” model, following consultation with services users, families, carers and staff, aimed at allowing people to be cared for at home and reduce the need for hospital admissions.

Hospital wards for mental health patients will be retained at Worcestershire Royal and, for those requiring more intensive help, at the Alexandra in Redditch.

But Nigel Gilbert, chairman of Betrayed by their Trust, said: “The trust is pushing through this damaging proposal despite being told at its consultations that Wyre Forest people do not wish to go to Worcester and Redditch for in-patient mental health services.

“We believe that professional staff have serious concerns about the closure but are afraid to voice them. Day hospitals closed several years ago.

“In our view, the closure of Harvington Ward will leave Wyre Forest mental health services in a dangerous state.

“Long-term support and treatment for mentally ill people is being cut out of the system by managers interested only in balancing the budget. There is a dangerous concentration on short-term therapies which are supposed to make everyone better.

“It is noticeable that we hear nothing from psychiatrists. Is one of them prepared publicly to assure us that the closure is not dangerous for Wyre Forest?”

Stephen Brown, spokesman for Wyre Forest Labour group, added: “Obviously we are really disappointed by the decision.

“What came from the consultation is that local people value having the facility nearby.

“A cut is a cut. It is an absolute huge loss for the area. Over the years, Kidderminster always seem to suffer when there are cuts or reductions in services.

“We are concerned for those who rely on the service.”

Mark Dickens, the trust’s lead for adult mental health, said: “The effectiveness of a mental health service should not be defined only by the number of beds, and while I understand that closing a ward may naturally feel like a reduction, we feel strongly that by strengthening the support available at home or in the community, we will deliver a service which better meets people’s expectations and ambitions, while providing a more recovery focussed stay in a ward when this is necessary.

“I would like to thank all the staff on Harvington Ward for their dedication and hard work, especially during an unsettling few months and our focus is now on beginning the safe and planned implementation of the new model over the next few months so this process is as seamless as possible for patients and staff.

“Can I also thank everyone who has contributed to the recent engagement and consultation work; the views and feedback has been invaluable and has contributed to what I am confident will be a more effective and less stigmatised mental health service in the county.”

There will be no job losses and Harvington Ward staff will be redeployed into the new model.