The number of beds for patients undergoing intensive rehabilitation could be halved under new plans.

New intermediate care services, on trial since November, will reduce the number of community rehab beds from 104 to between 40 and 61, with more patients treated at home.

The plan would see rehabilitation units, including the Heronwood and Galleon ward in Wanstead, merged into one unit at King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

The home treatment service, used mostly by over 65s, is carried out by the community treatment team (CTT) and the intensive rehabilitation service (IRS).

The CTT is a team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and support workers who provide short-term intensive care at home rather than hospital, from 8am to 10pm.

But concerns have been raised about the changes, with fears the home service could not cope with a particularly harsh winter and an increase in patient demand, or whether there would be adequate out-of- hours provision.

It is hoped the changes will save an estimated £900,000, and the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), which run the service, said it has taken all scenarios into account.

Redbridge council's health scrutiny committee on Thursday recommended extending the 12-week public consultation period for the scheme to October 31st.

Cllr Shelia Bain, Labour of Wanstead ward, said: "We're very concerned by these proposals  and the potential impact on Wanstead hospital.

"We will be working with residents to make sure that their views are heard during this consultation and that we will get the quality of care we expect and deserve."

Helen Zammett, of the Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents' Alliance, said: “The consultation is deceptive – hiding the real motive, saving money.”

“How can reducing the number from 104 to 40 permanent beds be an improvement?”

“Service and bed cuts have resulted in Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust, going into special measures with its Accident and Emergency bottom in the country this June.

“We don’t want intermediate care to go the same way.”

Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) received an average of 8.8 out of 10 in customer satisfaction surveys for new services.

GP Dr Mehul Mathukia, Redbridge CCG’s clinical director for integrated care, said: “Most patients are very happy with the new services we have been trialling and we want to continue to offer them.

"That’s why we have unused beds today in our rehab units which the NHS simply can’t afford to have sitting there empty. We should be using those resources to invest in other services such as those we are trialling now."

"At the same time, we are very clear that patients who need a community bed are still able to get one – and we think that the quality of care they will receive will be better as result."

Redbridge CCG claims that home-based services will minimise risk of infections and loss of independence suffered in bed-based provision.