Cries of “shame” and “disgust’’ filled the conference room where members of Croydon Clinical Commisioning group met to announce their decision to close the Foxley Lane women’s mental health unit. The closure announcement was made at a public meeting at Croydon College, despite huge local support to keep the unit open.
One campaigner, Paula, who has used local mental health services, said:“This is putting lives at risk. These cuts are killing and this decision they made is seriously wrong.”
A consultation exercise lasting two months ended in early January, and a report summarising local concerns was published just before the meeting. It also contained information on efficiency savings, justifying the closure recommendation.
Stephen Warren, Director of Commissioning CCG, said: ‘The fact is that we’ve had to look at efficiency savings of up to £18.4 million this year and then next year efficiently savings up to £30 million.“
The consultation report also states: ‘’Foxley Lane is no longer able to function as it was initially developed. The data presented demonstrates it is unable to focus on management of crisis admissions and its length of stay is significantly longer than other acute female wards.”
He added: “We really have to look at how we prioritise and use our resources effectively across a whole range of services we have. ”
Inclusion London was one of the groups opposing the closure. Ellen Clifford, Campaigns and Communications officer, said: “The service that Foxley Lane offers is holistic. It provides a lot of peer support in a therapeutic environment. And what they are suggesting it is replaced with we know from experience won’t have the same impact.”
The closure decision was agreed by the governing body in a matter of minutes.Former patients, friends and family of patients and other mental health advocates immediately left the meeting.
Clifford added: “The way the consultation was presented it seemed that Croydon CCG had already made up their mind up from the beginning that they wanted to go ahead with the closure, but we still felt it was still important there is opposition.“
Mike, a father of a former Foxley Lane user, said; “Foxley Lane has been a secure and safe haven for my daughter over many years and it’s the one place that has actually seen her recovery accelerate. ”
“We still need to put pressure [on Croydon CCG]. It’s not closed yet and we’re going to try to change their minds, “added Clifford.
The surnames of Paula and Mike were omitted from this article due to privacy reasons.
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