A week after Theresa May’s speech on mental health, a women’s psychiatric ward is closing due to cuts

Despite overwhelming opposition expressed during a two-month public consultation, Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided on Tuesday to decommission the women’s mental health ward Foxley Lane, because of enforced savings by NHS England of £48m over two years.

As the long-anticipated decision was announced, people stormed out of the meeting in disgust. “Women will die without this service!” shouted one lady, enraged.

Widely popular among local people, the ward was described by former patients as a “life-saving, therapeutic and peaceful environment”, but cuts to the local NHS budget mean it will close. This is the reality of mental health service provision under this Conservative government.

The closure of Foxley Lane is just one example of a much larger picture: shifting the focus from inpatient services to community-based care. Croydon CCG has invested in improving community support and home-based treatment, but there are signs this simply isn’t good enough.  Recent reports show that the number of people arriving at A&E with mental health problems has skyrocketed over the last five years, as community care is unable to meet rising demand.

The Foxley Lane public consultation revealed that 80 per cent of people surveyed believed the needs of inpatients could not be met by the range of community services on offer.

Severe doubts were expressed about home treatment, especially as for some women the home environment may be the source of distress, whether it be housing issues, abusive relationships or social isolation.

Full story in The Independent 18 January 2017