A MENTAL health ward at a hospital could be axed in a bid to save up to £2m.
Bowmere might also drop one of its community mental health teams and make staff redundant as part of a package of measures to save money across the local health service.
Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, which runs the unit in Chester, protested some time ago that its share of the cuts was 'unfair' and supported the view of watchdogs that patients would be put in danger.
Yet it has now been forced to swing the axe at Bowmere, which takes patients from Ellesmere Port and Neston,
and had a fanfare official opening by the Duke of Westminster in October of last year.
In a statement this week the Part-nership Trust says: 'Due to the financial situation in West Cheshire, Cheshire West and Ellesmere Port & Neston Primary Care Trusts set out proposals in their consultation document published on Monday to reduce adult mental health services provided by us.
'Their intention is to withdraw funding for one adult ward and one community mental health team.
'On its own, this would lead to a significant reduction in capacity and access to services. The (health) commissioners have committed in the consultation document to a package of other measures.
'Taken together, these measures represent the best way forward to minimise the impact of the reduction on service capacity and access, to restore stability and return the PCTs to financial balance.'
Partnership Trust spokesman Sarah Jones said: 'Redundancies would only be looked at when all other options had
been considered. At this stage, redundancies cannot be ruled out.'
The consultation on the PCT's proposed service changes runs until July 28.
28. Comments can be made at a public meeting at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall at 6pm on Tuesday, June 27, by e-mailing email@example.com; calling Freep-hone 0800 132996, or filling in the feedback forms which can be found at www.epnpct.nhs.uk and www.cwpct.nhs.uk
A spokeswoman for both PCTs said: 'We must be open about the need to provide more community-based services outside acute hospitals and set out clearly proposals to achieve this.'