UNION bosses have said the timetable for the closure of a hospital is ‘unachievable’.

It comes as it was revealed Calderstones in Whalley is set to close at least two years later than originally scheduled.

The only NHS hospital in Britain that specialises in learning disabilities had been due to close in 2019.

But bosses at the NHS organisation which runs Calderstones (now Mersey Care Whalley) said medium secure learning disability services will continue on the site until the summer of 2020.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust chiefs also confirmed mental health facilities will remain at Scott Clinic until the same date.

The trust’s board are also expected to discuss plans for the future location of low-secure services this summer.

A spokesman for Mersey Care said such a facility is unlikely to be in place until at least 2021.

Union bosses said it showed the timetable for the closure was ‘unachievable’ and they have stepped up calls to keep the hospital open.

Martin Garlick, Unison deputy convenor, said: “NHS England had originally identified a closure date for 2018, then they requested 2019 and now it seems it could be longer than that.

“This was always going to be an unachievable time frame to close the hospital.

“The delay is almost a good thing for patients but shows how farcical the situation is.

“We have made calls to keep the low-secure unit on site but NHS England refuse to commission beds on this site.”

Glen Harrison, lead convenor for Unison said: “This was a time-frame set by people who are not clinicians.

“It was unrealistic and they’ve treated vulnerable mental health patients like they’re moving house.

“I'd like to see the low-secure unit stay open on the site, yet NHS England are in favour of building another facility at a further cost of millions of pounds to the public purse and resulting in hundreds of jobs losses"

Work to build a £60million replacement medium secure unit at Maghull, on Merseyside, is due to start in the next couple of weeks.

Chief executive of Mersey Care Joe Rafferty, said: “We are about to commence building work on a new state of the art 123 bed unit in Maghull in the next couple of weeks.

“This will have separate secure facilities for mental health and for learning disabilities.

“It has an completion date of May/June 2020 with a possible move into the new building beginning later that summer.

“Work is underway to look at the practicalities of the transition from Scott Clinic and Woodview into the new unit.

“ It is expected that medium secure learning disability services will continue at Whalley and that mental health facilities will remain at Scott Clinic until the summer of 2020.”

NHS England were unavailable for comment.