A 24-hour emergency mental health unit, thought to be the only walk-in clinic of its kind in England, has been earmarked for closure.
Local health chiefs are consulting on plans to convert the emergency clinic at the Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell, south London, into a clinical decisions unit, where people waiting for hospital admission can be assessed.
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said the clinic, introduced in the 1950s, was not designed for people with complex problems. It expects people in crisis to use the nearby accident and emergency unit or community services.
But local campaigners and service users oppose the proposals, saying the centre provides expert mental health nursing despite rundown conditions.
Lynne Clayton, who has used the service many times, said: “We don’t want to wait on sofas here but at least we are safe. If this clinic didn’t exist many of the people I know – including me – would probably be dead.”
A final decision is likely to be made in the summer.