IT is looking increasingly likely that Huddersfield will have no beds for seriously mentally ill patients by the end of this year.
And although health bosses say they are continuing to search for alternative premises, nothing has been found so far.
St Luke’s will shut by December 10 this year and, if nowhere else is found, mentally-ill patients will be moved to Calderdale and Dewsbury.
At a meeting at the Crosland Moor hospital yesterday, health bosses were told that inpatient services will be transferred out of the area on an ‘interim’ basis – but this could be permanent move.
This is the latest blow to the service users and their families who have long feared the hospital’s closure could leave mental health patients isolated from their loved ones.
Members of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust board were told in a report: “In 2005 the Trust carried out extensive stakeholder engagement on future plans for services.
“Formal public consultation followed which concluded in March 2006 with a public mandate to move inpatient services from St Luke’s Hospital site.
“In view of the need to be off the site by December 2010 and the unavailability of suitable land development at the time of the searches, the Trust board agreed to an interim solution of using existing vacant estate.
“It approved the transfer of adult beds to Ashdale Dales Unit, Calderdale, and older people’s beds to Priestley Unit, Dewsbury.”
The latest development echoes fears raised last month by hospital staff that new premises for inpatients had not yet been secured after NHS officials claimed the Blackmoorfoot Road site was no longer sustainable.
Staff feared the proposed move of much-needed services on an interim basis would see them disappear completely from the town.
The trust has already stated that a relocation of services would be viewed as an interim move, but may form part of the final solution.
This was confirmed at the meeting, when board members were told: “The interim position may well form part of a longer term solution.
“This may or may not result in inpatient beds in all areas of the trust’s geography, but this has not been determined at this point.”
The meeting also revealed that alternative office and clinic facilities have been found for the hospital’s community-based services, including cognitive behaviour therapy, rehabilitation, learning disability services, community mental health teams and older people’s day service.
Early intervention and assertive outreach will go to Rushbrooke House at Royd Street in Milnsbridge; cognitive behaviour therapy will go to The Links at Greenhead Road, Huddersfield, learning disability services will go to Greenhead resource unit in Huddersfield and rehabilitation will be switched to Enfield Down in Honley.
Members were told the trust would not be able to finalise a long-term plan for some months yet.