doubts worth of under-threat Henderson Hospital
by Angela Hussain
health minister Ivan Lewis has questioned the effectiveness of the
highly-regarded Henderson therapeutic community which campaigners
are fighting to save.
Mr Lewis has doubted the “strength of evidence” for
the Henderson Hospital in Surrey, which treats people diagnosed
with personality disorder, and is set to close in March.
Former patients of the Henderson Hospital and staff are fighting
the closure, and a Facebook group to rally support has been set
But in a parliamentary debate last week Mr Lewis said: “I
have received no advice suggesting that the [Henderson] model is
far superior to other clinical interventions for people with personality
disorders....I know that there is a debate about the strength of
the evidence for the interventions from the Henderson.
is no professional unanimity about whether its care model delivers
outcomes so consistently that it would be superior to alternative
interventions and models of care.”
Referrals to the unit have dwindled since commissioning was switched
from the NHS nationally to local mental health trusts. Referrals
decreased from 220 per year to 33 from April 2007 to January 2008.
In December, the South West London and St George's Mental Health
NHS trust said it could no longer afford to keep the Henderson open.
Henderson residents run the service in partnership with staff, and
residents are not prescribed psychiatric drugs.
Mr Lewis has recommended that the Henderson merge with another therapeutic
community, Cassel Hospital in Richmond, south west London.
But Liberal MP Paul Burston urged Mr Lewis to stop the closure.
He said: “Unless the minister acts, the NHS is in danger of
sleepwalking into the closure of this nationally and internationally-renowned
Kath Lovell, a resident in the Henderson Hospital from 2003 to 2004
and project development manager for the charity, Borderline UK,
said: “There are pediatric departments in most hospital trusts,
but there will always be need for a specialist hospital like Great
Ormond Street, I believe the same to be true with personality disorder
and the Henderson.
"I implore for there to be solution that will secure a future
for the Henderson that will ostensibly allow more lives to be changed
for the better.”
Jan 16: 'The
Henderson saved my life' - here's why the acclaimed personality
disorder unit should stay open, writes Kath Lovell
Karl Adaway, Save The Henderson campaign
February 3, 2008
First, I would like to hear some actual evidence to back up Mr Lewis’s
claim about The Henderson. As it is, we have nothing more from Mr
Lewis than carefully crafted spin.
I would also like to challenge Ivan Lewis to spend a day at The
Henderson Hospital. To see first hand how hard people work there,
the dedication shown by staff and residents and the levels of motivation
needed to make change become reality. Only then could he make an
informed decision about what takes place there.
I would also like to challenge St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
to produce hard evidence which would justify why it is seeking the
closure of The Henderson. And more than the argument over the number
of referrals, because the drop has only happened because of the
confusion over funding. I would like to see information on true
costs, funding, success rates and so on.
the reported cost of detaining people in police stations being £460
a night, and the reported fact that 50% of acute beds in psychiatric
hospitals in the UK are taken up with patients with personality
disorders, how do we expect to make ground without pioneering, ground-breaking
centres of excellence such as The Henderson?
The Henderson and other units based on its model are allowed to
close, our ignorance WILL cost lives.
the evidence base
Fenella Lemonsky, Expert by Experience, North London Hub, MHRN,
Imperial College, London
February 4, 2008
I have never used the Henderson but know those who have. I know
how it has transformed lives when local services actually made things
worse. It has kept families together, kept people out of prison,
drugs and alcohol lifestyles and changed things so that people can
function better on a daily basis as part of an integrated society
rather than be part of social exclusion.
cost-benefit analysis of specialist personality disorder services
as pointed out by health economist Barbara Barrett from the Institute
of Psychiatry who has been analysing the "costs" of such
speciaist services, is clear. We gain long term.
appreciate St Georges are in an impossible situation. However super-specialist
beds like this should be safeguarded as they are an important part
of the treatment options for those not able to be treated in their
home town. If these people had a form of cancer that could not be
treated locally would they just be told 'tough'?
Personality disorder has a 10% suicide rate . However the good work
of the Henderson team which is evidence-based and peer-reviewed
has shown it can improve the lives significantly of those who use
As someone fortunate to have specialist PD treatment that saved
my life I would ask Mr Lewis to perhaps ask one of his research
assistants to do their homework - they clearly did not for him -
before he opens his mouth again on such matters.
Disorders Awareness Week is 25 Feb to 5 March 08 see http://www.b-eat.co.uk
one admission since Henderson
Julie Hudson, Project Worker, Turning Point charity
August 15, 2008
I was a resident at the Henderson Hospital from March 2000 to 2001.
Prior to this I was in and out of hospital, moving around the country
to escape my illness, lost touch with my children, alienated my
family, didn't and couldn't work for over 6 years.
Now I work full time and have done for nearly 5 years. I own my
own home, have a loving relationship, have contact with my children
and family, and have not had one hospital admission since the Henderson.
Tell me how cost effective does the Henderson need to be?
shut this valuable resource down is yet another attempt to cut funds
to mental health. This area of the NHS only gets 6% of funds, if
that. This is a travesty.
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