COMMERCIAL: Southern Health Foundation Trust is proposing to close two mental health hospitals as part of a reconfiguration which is expected to save £4.4m by 2013.

The mental health provider launched a six-week consultation on 5 September on plans to “redesign” adult mental health services in Hampshire. The trust is seeking to reduce the provision of inpatient services and improve services in the community.

The three options proposed are: do nothing, put inpatient services into a single hospital site or a third option which would reduce the five inpatient sites in the county to three. The trust’s preferred option was the third, to “move to a single hospital site per geographical area”.

The consultation document produced by the trust said: “If we went with option three, we would need to look at which hospitals we would keep to provide adult mental health.” The trust recommended closing sites at the Meadows in East Hampshire and Woodhaven in West Hampshire.

The trust admitted the option would have a “travel impact” on service users. It said: “Fewer people will be accessing hospital beds so more people will be treated at home than currently, so no travel is involved.”

The consultation document said there was an estimated “direct cost reduction” of £4.4m between 2011-12 and 2012-13. It said: “About £1.5m available to reinvest into community services. The balance of £2.9 million will be a saving to the health economy.

“This is in line with commissioner requirements to reduce costs. These are large sums of money and we are very aware of the significance of what we are proposing. However, we have to make difficult choices because we have to reduce our costs as well as improve the quality of services provided.”