Mental health services across Westminster are struggling to cope with the impact of years of Conservative cuts to NHS mental health services.
During the first lockdown of the pandemic Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL) closed the Gordon Hospital, which had previously provided the only inpatient community mental health beds in Westminster, arguing that they couldn’t keep patients and staff safe. But despite numerous call to re-open the hospital since, CNWL have refused to re-open the hospital, arguing that they needed the money to fund outpatient care instead of investing in improving the Gordon. This decision now sees 60% of Westminster inpatients being sent to St Charles Hospital in North Kensington and everyone else having to go even further afield.
The NHS shouldn’t be forced to cut inpatient care to support its other important work and Westminster patients and their families in very difficult circumstances shouldn’t have to traipse across London to find the bed that they need, making visiting very difficult and contributing to the isolation of patients away from their communities.
Westminster Labour is calling on the NHS to reverse their decision to close the Gordon Hospital without providing alternative inpatient community mental health beds. This service should be redeveloped or replaced in South Westminster and the Conservative Government should fund both the NHS and the Council to provide the necessary support in the community.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health in Parliament, joined the Westminster Labour team on Saturday to challenge the closer of the Gordon. She said “We have a mental health crisis across the country and that is epitomised here in Westminster with the closure of the Gordon Hospital. Only Labour have a credible plan for the country’s mental health. In our first term in Government we will recruit 8,500 new staff to provide much needed mental health support, we would have an open access mental health hub in every community, we will ensure mental health funding is ringfenced within the NHS and ensure that there is a mental health counsellor in every school.”
Cllr Nafsika Butler-Thalassis, Westminster Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said “Westminster has one of the highest rates of mental ill health in the country it’s not right that there are no inpatient beds in Westminster. A Labour Council would actively fight for the Gordon to be reopened or replaced in South Westminster and push for proper funding of mental health services.”
See Labour’s plans to build a fairer Westminster with our 2022 Manifesto.