Westminster Labour is deeply concerned that Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL) is seeking to permanently close and not replace the Gordon Hospital, near Vincent Square in South Westminster creating a severe shortage of inpatient community mental health beds across Westminster and surrounding boroughs. The Gordon had been temporarily closed due to pressures of managing Covid-19 in an older premises but it seems that CNWL’s proposed long-term solution is to provide no beds in Westminster at all rather than attempting to replace or improve it.
Pressure on in-patient beds has been rising over recent years as mental health support services have been cut but the closure of the Gordon has made things even worse. In a situation further fuelled by the Gordon closure, demand for beds at St Charles in North Kensington is massively outstripping supply. It has been reported that as a result of the pressure on beds not only are Westminster patients being diverted to Brent and Harrow but to beds out of London and, in the worst cases of short-term pressure, into police cells. Inpatient support seems to be available in the most acute, emergency situations.
The inpatient wards at the Gordon Hospital are not good enough by modern standards – but that doesn’t mean the hospital should close without making provisions for improved facilities at another location within South Westminster. Westminster Labour urges CNWL to find a way to reopen the Gordon Hospital until such time as improved inpatient wards are available at another location in the south of Westminster for our local residents.
Labour Group Deputy Leader and Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health Cllr Nafsika Butler-Thalassis said:
“I had hoped Covid would have reminded the Government, not that it should have been necessary, that hospitals need beds and Labour opposes all bed closures in Westminster. Mental health support in the community is important but underfunded and the idea CNWL seems to be suggesting of reducing bed numbers with no genuine transformation of community provision will put patients at risk. The Gordon needs to be redeveloped or replaced in South Westminster to ensure our city has the mental health beds it desperately needs.”
Cllr Butler-Thalassis, Labour Group leader Cllr Adam Hug and Karen Buck MP have written to the Chief Executive of CNWL about these concerns.