STRUCTURE: The foundation trust has revised its strategic plan for a major reconfiguration of inpatient mental health services across Lancashire, reducing the overall number of beds that will be provided from 560 to 262.

A report to Lancashire Care’s 6 September board meeting said the reduction in bed numbers and proposed changes to the sites that will be used would enable the original capital budget to be reduced from £150m to £117m.

The original “strategic outline case” was produced in 2007, following public consultations in Lancaster and Morecambe in 2004.

“Developments in patient care pathways since 2007 have led to a greater level of care in the community and a consequent reduction of in-patient admissions,” the board report stated.

“This has led to a significant reduction to the anticipated in-patient bed numbers. This and the 2010 general election that has resulted in a change to the procurement of provider services have required revision to the 2007 SOC.”

A technical appraisal group was set up by Lancashire primary care trusts to “retest the requirements for adult inpatients”, and its recommendations were accepted by PCT boards over summer, it continued.

The 2007 SOC planned for a 149 bed facility for the Fylde Coast, a 95 bed facility for Lancaster and Morecambe, a 149 bed facility in Central Lancashire and a 167 bed facility in East Lancashire.

The appraisal group recommended that beds at the Fylde Coast site be raised to 154, but that bed numbers for the other three be cut to just 18 in Lancaster and Morecambe, 18 in Central Lancashire, and 72 in East Lancashire.

It recommended that in place of a planned new hospital in East Lancashire the trust instead redevelop its existing buildings at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. An alternative to the originally planned site for the Central Lancashire facility – Ribbleton Hospital, in Preston – will be “determined with public engagement”, the report stated.

The FT board was asked to approve the release of a revised strategic outline programme for use within the Trust and by its relevant stakeholders as the basis on which the four projects are managed.