Assurances must be given over the decision to repurpose a rehabilitation centre providing care for patients following their discharge from hospital, Greens have said today.
Knoll House, a council-run care home providing ongoing therapy and rehabilitation to help patients return to their homes, could become a mental health facility after council reports say occupancy of beds is ‘down 50%.’
The plans are said to be the result of nursing staff being withdrawn from the centre and the provision of other services elsewhere. A report going to a meeting of Health and Wellbeing Board today states that ‘nursing staff had been providing significantly higher levels of care than had been commissioned.’ Nursing staff and care had been provided through Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. 
Councillors have received anumber of letters from current and former patients calling for the retention of the centre – and expressing how important the Knoll House facility has been to their health.
Greens say that the decision to repurpose the centre did not allow sufficient time for public engagement through the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board – and have called for assurances that future provision will still meet the needs of the public.
Provision of more intensive and specialist nursing care after someone is discharged from hospital will now be provided from different sites in the east and west of Brighton and Hove – in addition to other community hospital beds provided in Lewes, Uckfield and Crowborough. 
However pointing to the extra need for travel for residents, Greens say the impact of these changes on families, carers and patients – as well as on the demand for rehab care in the city – should be explored. 
Councillor Sue Shanks, Green spokesperson for Health and Wellbeing Board, commented:
“Knoll House has been a long-established and much-loved facility helping many in the city to have the rehabilitation they need. While we welcome news that other provision will be put in place, we know that many residents are concerned by news of changes to Knoll House. We feel that the Health and Wellbeing Board could have looked at this at an earlier time, to allow for sufficient public and councillor engagement.
“While there is no doubt that a mental health facility is needed in the city, we note that there is also still a need for rehabilitation – and so we are asking the Board for extra assurances that these services will be as effective when provided elsewhere, particularly when travel may be involved.”
Councillor Sarah Nield added:
“Rehabilitation is a vital step in the journey from a stay in hospital back into independent living at home. It is clear from the correspondence we have received that people feel a great deal about the services provided at Knoll House – for many, this has been a lifeline helping them return home. We believe we are right to ask how these changes will affect patients and their families and carers. We also want to more deeply scrutinise and understand any changes in demand for the type of rehabilitation and therapy formerly offered at Knoll House.”