Who's running the asylums?
Health service officials have defended a decision to spend £400,000 on modern art sculptures following criticism.
The artworks have been installed in mental health facilities across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former county of Avon.
James Gray, Conservative MP for North Wilts, said the scheme was "ludicrous" when there was a beds shortage.
The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust claim the sculptures benefit patients.
... AWP medical director Susan O'Connor said: "The arts can play a vital role in creating a healing environment and this is particularly important in mental health.
"Involving service users and carers in the development of the arts commissions was very important and everyone is delighted with the results."
The health trust has been further criticised for spending £100,000 evaluating the project.
The current Mental Health Review in the area - sets a target:
"To achieve financial balance by
commissioning financially sustainable mental
health services. At present the two PCTs
collectively spend £25.4 million on NHS
mental health services in Kennet, North and
West Wiltshire, the majority of which are
provided by AWP. Currently these local
services cost £2,750,000 more than the
available funding and consequently both
AWP and the PCTs are in deficit. All NHS
organisations are under great pressure to
achieve financial balance and deficits have to
be paid back. Services therefore have to be
delivered differently to achieve a balanced
financial position as well as to meet local and
So the odd half million here or there spunked up the wall on pictures won't matter then as there are still a few beds and nurses left to be cut first. And £100,000 to evaluate how wonderful it all is shows how the managers are running the system for themselves and their form filling...