HEALTH bosses have denied there are plans to shut Clacton Hospital’s Peter Bruff ward.

A whistle-blower, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed the unit is earmarked for closure – with services expected to transfer to Colchester Hospital, in what was previously the Bernard ward.

It is just eight years since the Gazette successfully campaigned to save the ward following a countywide review of mental health services. But now there are fears it is under threat again.

The North Essex Partnership, which runs mental health services, this week denied any plans to close the ward, but would not categorically state that changes would not take place.

“The lease from Clacton Hospital of the building occupied by Peter Bruff is coming to an end and the trust appears to be focusing on centralisation of all acute beds on the Colchester,” the Gazette’s source said.

“I feel that given Clacton’s mental health population – the last I heard it was the largest per capita of any area in the UK – this agenda is based firmly in saving money and not in the patients’ best interests, and is wrong.”

A spokesman for the North Essex Partnership said: “The trust is always considering ways of improving our services. There are no firm plans to make any changes to provision in the north of the county at this time.”

When pressed as to whether the trust would categorically deny there would be any changes, the spokesman said he could categorically deny that anything has yet been decided.

MP Douglas Carswell has called on health bosses to be straight with patients over the issue.

“I’m quite shocked. Several years ago they tried to shut Peter Bruff and must know how sensitive this issue is,” he said.

“ I think we should be quite angry that they cannot give a straight answer and that they are using jargon when talking about ways of improving the service.”