Manchester

Oldham patient support unit axed in £17m savings plan

A unit in Oldham that supports patients when they leave hospital will close in January as part of a £17m savings plan.

NHS Oldham said the Community Recovery Unit in Shawside costs £2m a year to run and was only ever temporary.

Lessons learned from the project will be fed into a new intermediate care service, which will offer similar support, launching in spring 2011.

Fifteen staff who work at the unit have been told their jobs are under threat as a result of the closure.

The unit was opened in 2009 to give patients brief, intensive support for a few days when they came out of hospital.

It was part of efforts to help local health services learn more about what kind of services were needed in the community, and which ones were effective.

'Unpopular decisions'

Its successes have been factored into plans for the trust's intermediate care service, which will support people who need health services but not necessarily hospital care.

Chief executive Shauna Dixon said: "We are having to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions which is something we all wish we did not have to do.

"We have a full support package available for all affected staff and will work closely with them through this difficult time.

"Doctors, nurses, health professionals and managers are all working to make sure the people of Oldham have the highest quality health services, while reducing costs safely."

The unit will close to new admissions first to ensure patients can complete their planned recovery period.

NHS Oldham, which spends £420m every year, has already made £16m of savings in recent months. It must cut £17m for its budget by the end of the financial year.

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