MP backs campaign to save mental health clinic
BURTON’S Tory MP has said he ‘will campaign strongly’ to save a psychiatric centre if moves are made to axe it.
Andrew Griffiths warned he would fight for the Margaret Stanhope Centre, on the Outwoods site of Burton’s Queen’s Hospital, in a letter to the health chief overseeing a consultation on the unit’s future.
He told Andrew Donald, director of commissioning at South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust, that his fears for the centre had grown following reports in the Mail.
“I am extremely concerned that it seems a decision has already been taken that, if the number of mental health centres in Staffordshire with inpatient care facilities is reduced from three to two, then it would be the Margaret Stanhope Centre that would close,” he said.
“If the decision on the future of mental healthcare in Staffordshire has not already been predetermined, then it must fairly consider firstly how many mental health centres should be retained and then, if it is decided that there does need to be a closure, it should be decided which of the centres that should be.”
Mr Griffiths made it clear what he would do should moves be made to close the Margaret Stanhope rather than two other units in Stafford and Tamworth.
“As you will know, there is a great depth of local support for the Margaret Stanhope Centre, which provides a level of service and quality of care that is highly valued by those who use it,” he said.
“If the cluster of local health authorities decides that Margaret Stanhope should close then I shall, or course, campaign strongly to save it.
“It is not acceptable that if one local healthcare centre were to close, it should automatically be decided that it would be the Margaret Stanhope. I urge you to approach all stages of this review with an open mind before deciding on a solution that would best serve patients and their families.
“I strongly believe that such a solution would be one where the Margaret Stanhope continues to offer an excellent service to people right across Staffordshire.”
Former Margaret Stanhope patient Gerry Chatfield, 68, of Hawthorn Crescent, Stapenhill, believed the MP’s comments were ‘a shot in the arm’ for the campaign to save the centre and said: “I’m pleased he’s taken this on board, he obviously recognises there’s a need for it, which there is.”
However, Mr Donald said the MP’s letter ‘jumped to incorrect conclusions, adding: “No decisions have been made.
“There’s a consultation process to go through which will set out all the issues.”
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