Mental health unit in Ashford to close
The William Harvey
hospital, which houses the Arundel Unit
A mental health unit in Ashford is to close, leaving patients
with a round trip of at least an hour to access key hospital
A big shake-up announced by the Kent and Medway NHS and Social
Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) will see the Arundel Unit at the
William Harvey Hospital shut down.
The closest acute inpatient wards will be at St Martin's
Hospital, Canterbury, 16 miles away, or the Queen Elizabeth the
Queen Mother (QEQM) Hospital, Margate, a further 18 miles down the
NHS bosses say £3.5 million will be spent improving facilities
at both hospitals.
Older patients with mental health needs will have a single room
with en-suite facilities and there will be more health
professionals in each ward.
Patients and carers living in Ashford will also be offered
door-to-door transport to Canterbury and Margate.
Evelyn White, associate director of integrated commissioning at
NHS Kent and Medway, said: "There is broad recognition among
clinicians that having two sites in Canterbury and Margate will
improve ward and clinical quality for those patients who are
admitted to hospital for treatment.
expansion of community services and streamlining of inpatient beds
for older people with mental health needs is a proven model that
has been working successfully in west Kent for the last two
As part of the shake-up, the NHS will invest more money in home
treatment services, providing support for people with dementia and
their carers for up to three months. A 24/7 dementia crisis service
is also planned.
"Improving community support for older people with mental health
needs follows the national move away from inpatient care to crisis
and home treatment," Ms Evelyn added.
"This means we can support more older people with mental health
needs including dementia to live well in their homes for
The changes to mental health services in east Kent follow a
three-month public consultation, which asked whether inpatient beds
should remain in Ashford, Canterbury and Margate or be merged to
create two wards or a single unit at the QEQM.
Local people said they favoured keeping the three sites,
although they supported community-based services to help people
with dementia to remain at home for longer, as well as better
support for families and carers.
The refurbishment of the wards in Canterbury and Margate will
now be planned and additional staff recruited.
Marie Dodd, Director of Operations at KMPT said: "We want all of
our wards to provide better facilities for care such as single
en-suite rooms, spacious dining areas and landscaped safe, secure,
"By creating a more therapeutic environment and increasing the
community support available we are confident that individuals will
be able to be discharged from hospital faster.
"We will be thoroughly planning these closures to ensure as smooth
a transition for patients and staff as possible."
A staff consultation will be held in November.
Ms Dodd concluded: "We expect that the bed reductions for older
adults will be completed towards the end of the year."
- Click here for more news from across the county...