Maudsley psychiatric emergency clinic to close

The Maudsley emergency psychiatric clinic in south London, the last service of its kind in the UK, is to close.

A meeting of the Lambeth Primary Care Trust board on Monday mirrored the decision taken earlier this month by Southwark PCT’s board to decommission the clinic. The service, which had stopped new admissions in May, will now be wound up for good by March 2008.

Lambeth PCT chair Caroline Hewitt said that the debate had been “passionate” and that it had been a difficult decision. “On balance we believe that the right service arrangements are now in place to allow us to finally decommission the remaining services provided at the emergency clinic,” she added.

Hewitt emphasised that plans to improve mental health services at nearby King’s College Hospital would be closely monitored. The lack of suitable alternative services has been the main concern for supporters of the Maudsley clinic.

As the meeting took place a rally was held outside the PCT’s offices by local mental health charities and service users, part of a long and hard-fought campaign to save the clinic. There were reports of an arrest after one protestor scrawled graffiti on a wall. Campaigners said that essential support for mental health patients in Lambeth would suffer as a result of the closure.

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