"Bold decision by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust"

About: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Working age mental health care (inpatient)

(as the patient),

I haven't been an inpatient since Mrs Thatcher closed the asylums where I had spent 17 years as a revolving door patient. At present the almost-new psychiatric inpatient unit in Hastings (called Woodlands) has been closed for a couple of weeks. The unit had two recent suicides and reported abscondings and had been an unpopular place for a long time among patients who I had spoken to. It was a brave and bold decision to terminate this unpleasant situation by closing the unit.

It's unfortunate that there was not a lot of obvious consultation and forewarning, and it is not satisfactory for patients to be located at a distance from their home area, as some now are.

I hope that Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust can make the unit a safe and therapeutic place and reopen it. In the past five years I have had need of extra support, and this was provided at local small-size facilities. I found this to be so much better than hospitalisation, and am pleased with the outcome of that care. Perhaps the trust can look to that if they are reconsidering the shape of intensive service provision.

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Response from Rachael Kenny, Head of Involvement, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Andy V

Thank you for your supportive posting - the situation at Woodlands is clearly distressing and difficult for everyone involved.

It can be difficult for people receiving care (and their families and friends) who are in hospital a long way from home and our staff are working with all the individuals concerned to address problems that do emerge as part of their care plans.

Sometimes as an organisation we have to make a choice as to the least worst option in a situation and you will appreciate that in scenarios such as the closure of Woodlands there was not much opportunity to consult on the decision or forewarn.

On the wider subject of inpatient care at Sussex Partnership you may be aware of a mental health service redesign programme, “Better by Design" being led by the Primary Care Trusts and going out to public consultation in early 2010. Some early focus groups to inform the consultation are taking place this week - information about ones in East Sussex, which look at inpatient provision have been shared with all the local service user and carer organisations or are available from our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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