From the Tottenham Journal
PLANS to close mental health wards in favour of treating patients at home have opened for consultation.
The Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust (BEH-MHT) wants to cut at least 16 beds from wards in St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham and move doctors out into the community.
Healthcare bosses say the plans to boost home care will rid patients of the stigma of being hospitalised for a mental illness.
A Haringey PCT spokeswoman said: "Many people believe that the social stigma of mental illness, especially for some black and minority ethnic groups, can often be less if admission to a psychiatric ward is minimised or avoided altogether.
"The changes are not intended to reduce spending on mental health services and indeed Haringey TPCT is increasing spending on mental health overall.
"Modern home treatment is a better alternative to hospital admission for many acutely ill patients."
The eight-week consultation period, which was delayed from September last year while NHS London looked into the plans, opened on January 26.
BEH-MHT hopes to permanently close a 16-bed ward after severe flooding forced health bosses to close its doors in November last year.
Further ward closures are in the pipeline when beds are no longer needed.
Two public meetings will be held at 2pm on February 17 at St Ann's Hospital, St Ann's Road, and again at 6.30pm on March 5 at the Haringey Civic Centre, Wood Green High Road.
Residents have until Saturday, March 23, to have their say at www.beh-mht.nhs.uk or call Penelope Kimber for a printed copy of the consultation document on 020 8442 6765.
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