Legal fight delays hospital’s closure

    The Orchard Hill hospital for people with learning difficulties
    in Sutton, Surrey, will not meet the Valuing People deadline to
    close long-stay hospitals by March 2006 following delays caused by
    a legal battle.

    This week the hospital said it was reviewing its closure
    timetable following the end of a lengthy dispute about future plans
    for residents.

    Parents of two people living at Orchard Hill launched a judicial
    review of Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust’s decision in May
    2004 to move residents into community-based services.

    The case was taken over by the Official Solicitor, who acted on
    behalf of all the people living at the hospital, and an agreement
    was reached in July that most residents would move into the

    The 38 remaining residents, with problems including challenging
    behaviour, mental health and physical health needs, are currently
    being assessed by a panel of independent experts to decide whether
    they should stay in a small health care unit on the Orchard Hill


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