NHS mental health hospital closed with five days’ notice

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A mental health hospital was closed following a report by CQC which forced 30 patients to be moved at extremely short notice with a further 400 outpatients also being affected.

The report noted that the building built in the 18th Century posed a ‘significant risk to patients’; the criticisms that have commented on the swift action have centred on the inability to arrange local replacement services in the stead of the mental hospital closure. The criticism is made stronger by the rumours of the selling of the publicly held building to private developers in a move which will anger those against the ‘privatisation of public assets’.

The situation is made worse still as five months following the closure of the only NHS mental health hospital in York no replacement mental health beds have replaced the disbanded hospitals beds. NHS bosses have stated that a short term solution will arise in the summer; a permanent solution will not be coming to York until 2019 at the earliest.

A legal challenge to the decision by way of judicial review has been brought by the families of some of the former patients, and, separately others have called for an independent review of the decision to close the Hospital.

The intensions of the decision-makers when embarking on closing the home in such a short space of time appear to have been taken in the best interests of patients at the time; but those decisions appeared to lack the due consideration that should have been shown in ensuring permanent alternatives were set up in the absence of the Hospital. Had this been properly thought through at the time of the decision there might have been the opportunity to fill the gap in mental health provision in the area.

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