CONCERNS have been raised over proposals that could see the closure of mental health wards at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Hambleton , Richmondshire and Whitby has produced a pre-consultation report that suggests three options for the future of mental health services in the area.

Only one of those options retains the two mental health wards at the Friarage.

The option recommended for approval would see inpatient care provided in the nearest neighbouring assessment and treatment mental health bed - at either West Park Hospital, Darlington, Roseberry Park Hospital, Middlesbrough or Bishop Auckland General Hospital depending on where the patient lived.

One Richmond resident, who wished not to be named, said that he has written to his MP Rishi Sunak over previous consultations that saw the removal of services from the Friarage and believes it is “quite obvious” that this latest consultation will lead to ward closures.

He said: “I was pretty sure back then that consultations were over the closure of beds and so it has proved to be.”

Another Northern Echo reader warned that the latest review into mental health services is “closure by stealth” by the CCG.

He added: “The alternatives they are giving in the consultation is either ‘do you want better community care and support’ and of course everybody wants that.

“Then they say that the only way to get that is to close down the beds in Northallerton.

“We are being given a choice that is hardly a choice.”

he report, titled Transforming Mental Health Services in Hambleton and Richmondshire, will go before North Yorkshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee on Friday.