AN MP is keeping up the pressure on Hampshire health bosses over controversial mental health cuts.

Julian Lewis claims bed closures had been “bulldozed through”, despite the results of consultations.

The New Forest East MP has been a fierce critic of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s plans to close 58 acute beds. And the Tory was angered by the refusal of the county council’s scrutiny committee to allow him to make his case before a meeting.

Speaking in a debate about mental health in the House of Commons, Dr Lewis said the committee had been “taking on board” some of his concerns, promising to “safely manage” any future bed reduction, and demanding to be informed should demand exceed supply.

Concerned But he again criticised the cuts, telling MPs bed capacity had been reduced by 35 per cent while occupancy rates were above 90 per cent.

He said: “The pattern seems to be something like this: they hold a consultation; they make assertions based on, at best, subjective surveys of what they say people want; they then rely on pseudo-independent “expert”

research which, usually, turns out not to be independent at all and, finally, they bulldoze their pre-existing plans through.”

Dr Lewis said he was in favour of community-based treatment, but added: “Even its most ardent advocates do not deny that there will always be a need for inpatient beds for some people some of the time. I am concerned that the cuts imposed on in-patient beds may mean that, if we are not very careful indeed, there will be enough beds available in future only for people who are sectioned.”