Commenting on the decision by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to order the closure of the Maudsley Emergency Clinic, Cllr David Noakes, Liberal Democrat Chair of Southwark’s Health Scrutiny Committee said:
“We are naturally very disappointed by the decision of the Secretary of State. The Campaign for the Maudsley Clinic had the support of all parties and wide sections of the community. We do not believe that the best way to provide emergency mental health services in our area is via a single small room attached to an Accident and Emergency Department and we are very disappointed that Patricia Hewitt believes that closing the Maudsley Clinic is in the best interests of local people.
“We are disappointed that Patricia Hewitt has given the go ahead before proper details of the new service provision are in place, but it looks as though there will be room for a single patient to be assessed before being sent on their way. In contrast, the Maudsley Clinic had room for a number of patients and the facilities to keep them in if their situation required.
“A number of other questions need to be answered urgently:
- Although Ms Hewitt refers to the capital funding for the new service being in place, can the same be said for the revenue funding?
- Will the new service remain in place whatever the pressures of the A&E department or will busy times lead to a loss of provision?
- Will suitable doctors, nurses and other staff be available 24 hours a day for this new service?
“Finally, we want an assurance that the new service will be open before the Maudsley Clinic closes. In the meantime, we will continue with our plans to hold a debate at Council Assembly next week and to seek to secure all party backing for our position against this decision.”