A mental health ward at the Whitchurch Community Hospital is likely to be shut by Shropshire County Primary Care Trust as it pursues a broader trend towards treating people at home instead.

Managers at the hospital insists the plan is not about trying to save money but to modernise care for mental health patients.

If the proposal is implemented, the county service will need an additional 90 staff, according to the trust. A consultation on the proposal will begin on 6 September.

Mental health provision is being assessed across the country as managers look to make the £20 billion worth of efficiency savings demanded by the government. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, for example, is considering consolidating mental health services at a single site rather than spread across three.

Shropshire County PCT’s Sam Hill said: “User and carers we’ve been talking to for a long time have been saying to us they would much rather have help in their own homes with their own lives so they can perhaps carry on with the jobs they are doing or the leisure opportunities they have, rather than be taken out of their lives and put into a ward.”