Plans to create more inpatient beds for those suffering mental health episodes have been welcomed – although it could mean closing a 15-bed unit in Weymouth.

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will make a decision on proposals to shake-up the county’s mental health services tomorrow – the same day as a final decision will be made on changes to hospital services.

Campaigners welcomed recommendations last week that Dorset County Hospital remain an emergency and planned site. Health bosses also conceded a maternity and paediatrics unit should also remain for patients in the west of the county, although new options will now be considered by DCH and Yeovil District Hospital, which will go out for a second public consultation.

The meeting will also consider the future of mental health services. Proposals include closing the Linden Unit, a 15 bed mental health inpatient unit in Weymouth and to increase the number of beds at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole from 67 to 94 with an additional four beds at Forston Clinic near Dorchester.

There are also plans for enhanced support via a 24/7 crisis line, the creation of retreats where people can go to get treatment and support, the introduction of community front rooms to improve access to services and recovery beds being made available across the county.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill policing has taken on ‘increasing and misplaced’ demand in recent years in relation to mental health, and he welcomed a number of proposals made in the CCG review that he believes will minimise risks.

Mr Underhill said: “It is well-established that those suffering with mental health problems are more likely to become victims of crime, or alternatively come into contact with policing as a result of behaviour that causes concern in the community.

“If an individual enters mental health crisis in police custody, there is no legal authority to continue the detention of the individual if a bed cannot be identified in a health setting. Custody officers are then placed in an untenable position: holding a detainee without the legal grounds to do so or releasing a person who is a risk to themselves and/or the public.

“As such, I warmly welcome proposals put forward for 16 additional inpatient beds across Dorset. Police officers are not mental health professionals and adequate provision of appropriate care is vital to meet the needs of individuals at risk.”

He added: “The creation of two new retreats where people can go to get the right support is a positive step forward. I recommend that in addition to a retreat in Bournemouth, the second is located in Dorchester rather than Weymouth to improve the accessibility of the service to those in West and North Dorset.”