US-based healthcare system Baystate Health has decided to keep its 22-bed mental health unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center (BFMC) in Greenfield, Massachusetts, open.

The decision comes after years of advocacy by nurses, healthcare workers, elected officials, labour unions and community members, who had fought to preserve local mental health services.

Baystate Health had initially planned to close the mental health beds at its community hospitals in Greenfield, Palmer and Westfield.

The company partnered with US HealthVest in 2019 to build a behavioural health hospital in Holyoke, but the partnership fell apart later that year.

Following this, Baystate formed a partnership with Kindred Behavioral Health, a division of LifePoint Health.

The partners intend to open a 150-bed behavioural health hospital in Holyoke in August this year.

Despite this, Baystate Health is proceeding with its plans to close the mental health beds at Baystate Noble Hospital and Baystate Wing Hospital.

BFMC resident mental health nurse Donna Stern said: “We are glad to see that patients in the Greenfield area who need inpatient mental health services will continue to be able to access the care they need close to home.

“The potential closure of our mental health unit would have made it harder for patients to access quality care, recover close to their loved ones and connect with local resources.”

With 23,000 members, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the state.

Massachusetts Nurses Association co-chair Suzanne Love said: “This decision proves that when we work together to keep care local, we can help our patients receive the quality care they deserve.

“We are grateful that Baystate Health has maintained an open mind about keeping these mental health beds open and we are proud to have worked collaboratively to make sure our patients can receive appropriate care.”