Preston MP: 11 new mental health beds "should be seen as an apology"

The Avondale Unit at the Royal Preston Hospital. Pictured around the time of its closure in 2010.
The Avondale Unit at the Royal Preston Hospital. Pictured around the time of its closure in 2010.
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Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick has poured cold water on an announcement of 11 new mental health beds for the Royal Preston Hospital.

He said the news “should not be showcased as a new development, but seen as an apology for them being taken away in the first place”.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick

Preston MP Mark Hendrick

Sir Mark (pictured) helped lead a well-supported public campaign trying to prevent the Avondale Unit closing in 2010. The unit provided adult inpatient care for people with serious mental health problems.

The protests failed to stop the closure, and since then, patients have been treated in the community and at other specialist units including The Harbour in Blackpool.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has been given £2m funding to open 11 mental health rehabilitation beds at the Avondale Unit in April.

The beds are expected to reduce the number of people with mental health issues being sent to other parts of the country due to bed shortages, or people with mental health issues visiting hospital accident and emergency departments.

Read more about the investment here

Sir Mark said: “The Trust should also be making it clear that there were 36 beds originally at the Unit, not 11. This is not a development, it’s taking us back to 2010, when it should never have been closed.

“To me, it’s very reminiscent of the Conservative Government announcing funding for 20,000 new police officers, when more than that have been lost due to cuts over the past 10 years."