TAUNTON, MA – Taunton State Hospital is set to close down, raising concerns among mental health advocates who claim the state’s system is already strained.
The state plans to move 120 of the 169 beds at Taunton to the new Worcester State Hospital. The other 45 beds will move to Tewksbury State Hospital. Officials say the move will save about $20 million.
The Taunton State Hospital was one of only six mental health facilities in the state to care for people suffering from mental illness.
The Department of Mental Health’s decision is not sitting well with the leaders of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Lana Jones reports
“This is a cold hearted and dangerous decision that will have devastating consequences for the mentally ill in our state,” said Karen Coughlin, RN, a nurse at Taunton State Hospital and vice president of the MNA/NNU. “We have no mental health care safety net in Massachusetts. There are not, and have not been, enough beds or services in the system for years. This decision will only exacerbate a long standing crisis. People will continue to go without care, crime will increase, homelessness will increase, more people will end up in the corrections system and many more will commit suicide. This closure along with other cuts to programs and services represents the state’s continued abandonment of the mentally ill in our society.”
Coughlin would then go on to conclude, “This has gone beyond an issue of funding and finances. This is a moral and ethical issue of human rights and common decency.”