TORCH Services at Hahnemann House, BournemouthDorset MPs will meet today (Friday 14th) in a closed meeting with the board of the Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust in order to hear the Trust’s latest decisions and opinions on how best to remodel the existing services provided by the TORCH facility at Hahnemann House, Bournemouth.Relatives and carers are extremely concerned with proposals and moves made by the Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust to conduct what the Trust describes as “reshaping” and “modernising” the services provided by the Treatment, Outreach and Rehabilitation Centre (TORCH). The carers are further concerned that such closed meetings give a one-sided perspective on the situation to the MPs. They have asked the Trust for full open and frank public consultation and are to date they are far from satisfied. And they are not alone. They have the support in principle of a number of local MPs and back in July at Bournemouth Town Hall, councillors from across the area meeting as the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee unanimously showed their disapproval of the Trust’s actions to date and made certain recommendations. The carers consider that these recommendations have by and large been ignored.Dorset HealthCare NHS Trust has about 4,000 people in their care who live across Eastern Dorset (Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Wimborne and Purbeck) and who suffer from mental health problems or severe learning disabilities. TORCH is a vital, specialised service provided by the Trust and it’s dedicated team of trained clinical NHS staff and is offered to individuals who are at a vulnerable stage of their treatment and road to recovery. It is open every day and provides care and support for many people who have severe and enduring mental illnesses, notably schizophrenia, psychosis and bi-polar disorders. It gives these people a reason to get up and go somewhere 365 days of the year. It provides grass roots, hands-on care as part of individual and group treatment programmes to encourage and support independent living in the community. It also provides help with finding and arranging accommodation and work, and gives relatives some respite in the confidence that their loved ones are being looked after professionally by trained NHS staff. TORCH does so much more than just provide a valuable social and drop-in centre. Carers fear that many of these services, and the structure and stability provided by the centre will effectively be replaced by voluntary and charitable workers and institutions, with home visits and with a much fragmented organisation. This in turn will lead to many of the vulnerable people cared for at TORCH losing their already slight foothold in the real world and relapsing into hospitalisation.In addition, the carers consider that so far they have been treated very unprofessionally by the Trust, with a lack of consultation, consideration and discussion. The Trust has now made some steps to remedy this situation, but the carers and service users consider that the Trust is still paying no more than lip-service, due to the publicity that they have generated, appearing in the media, with considerable local press coverage and with the support of a number of local MPs.A petition of over 5,500 signatures was delivered to the Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, but once again carers consider that so far this has just been passed over, as the real reason for the changes are cost cutting measures forced on local Trusts by central government.
The carers ask that anyone concerned please read their petition and see other details on their website at
and if you support their actions, please endorse this by making a statement at the “Your Comments” page.
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