Henderson Hospital: Residents face ‘shambolic’ transfer

Residents being forced to leave the Henderson Hospital for people with personality disorders, which closes tomorrow, will suffer a “shambolic” transfer to alternative placements, a local MP has said.

The Henderson in Sutton, Surrey, will close its doors tomorrow after 60 years of pioneering treatment, substituting medication for group psychotherapy and therapeutic art and music classes.

Four of the five existing service users have been offered beds at the Cassel Hospital, a residential unit for adults, adolescents and families, in nearby Richmond. The fifth will be leaving residential care having made a full recovery.




But Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, fears care arrangements at the Cassel will be unsuitable and condemned the transfer as “a shambles”.

He warned poor planning by South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust, which is overseeing the “temporary” closure of the Henderson, could have a detrimental effect on the conditions of the service users, who are battling complex personality disorders.


“The trust is not putting enough time and effort required into such an urgent matter, to ensure they have access to the appropriate treatment,” the Liberal Democrat MP said.

“From a health and benefits point of view, their cases are probably more complicated than just about anyone else in the country.”


Transfer of funding unclear


Brake added it was still unclear whether funding for the residents’ care packages could be transferred to West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which manages the Cassel.


He has written to Peter Houghton, chief executive of South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust, outlining his concerns, and promised to take up the cases on behalf of the remaining service users alongside Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam.


In spite of a long-running battle by campaigners to save it, the Henderson will close tomorrow, but only on a “temporary” basis.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Residents were made aware of options for their future care and specific new care arrangements are being agreed with them.”


The trust claims that falling resident numbers means the service model of a “therapeutic community” is no longer “clinically viable or effective”.

But it has promised to reopen the unit if sufficient new referrals are made.


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