London health trust axes pioneering mental health hospital


A pioneering hospital for people with personality disorders is to close due to a lack of funds.

The Henderson Hospital in Sutton, south London, is a therapeutic community where residents live for up to a year and help to run the service.

Peter Houghton, chief executive of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, said the decision by the trust’s board to close the hospital was “regrettable”.

He added: “This decision reflects the reduction in funded referrals and income from commissioners, and the expectation that this reduction will continue. This is a result of the primary care trust commissioners investing in other areas of personality disorder services locally, in line with recent Department of Health policy guidance. The trust can no longer afford to subsidise the hospital at the expense of other services.”

The hospital celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.

Mental health professionals and campaigners including the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ slammed the planned closure.

Dr Chris Holman, chair of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, said the move was a “great blow.”

“For sixty years the Henderson has been the flagship of therapeutic communities, offering an innovative and imaginative treatment to people with complex psychological needs. The Henderson has always stood for empowerment of the person using the service, and the healing power of the human relationship, reducing reliance on medication and medical intervention,” he added.

Majorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, said: “I am deeply concerned that the country’s only national resource for the most complex mental health needs is to close on the grounds of an inhumane costing system. It is the equivalent of announcing the closure of the Royal Marsden Hospital for cancer patients or the Moorfields Eye Hospital.”


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