Statement on acute mental health unit at ‘A’ Block at Medway Maritime Hospital

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News from Medway Council website

Following the news that central government’s Secretary of State for Health has confirmed the closure of ‘A’ block at the Medway Maritime Hospital, which provides acute mental health inpatient beds, please see below a joint statement from Medway Councillors.

Cllr David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, and Cllr Teresa Murray, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and Group Health Spokeswoman, said:

“This decision will clearly dismay patients and their families, who all rely on this facility during times of crisis.

“A cross-party group of Medway councillors worked to try and prevent the loss of ‘A’ Block and jointly funded an independent study, which clearly showed why this shouldn’t happen.

“The report highlighted that KMPT’s proposals could not deliver the number of extra beds it claimed to do and contained no clear vision or strategy for strengthening community based support services.

“Prior to this, the police and other health professionals also publically stated that a lack of acute beds and support from community mental health services had already forced them to deal with mental health patients in crisis, when not trained to do so.

“Despite local users and their families putting forward passionate views and an independent report clearly advising against taking this facility out of Medway, the Secretary of State has – after listening to the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel – made his decision. This decision is one that we believe lets down the people of Medway.

“We note that the number of beds available has now increased by 24, following pressure by Medway’s councillors and the findings of the independent report, but we still strongly believe this area – which has a growing population – needs an acute mental health facility based here, not many miles away in other parts of Kent.

“There may now be no other realistic option available to us to try to keep this facility within Medway, but we will now keep a watchful eye on this issue to ensure that the people in Medway receive a service that is fit for purpose.

“We will also continue to lobby wherever we can for a local facility, as those that currently use ‘A’ Block are some of our most vulnerable residents and we have a duty of care to ensure they receive appropriate treatment.”

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