On 6 July Camden and Islington Clinical Commissioning Groups will launch a public consultation on proposals for change to the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust estate. The consultation seeks views on proposals to move inpatient beds from St Pancras Hospital to a new site by the Whittington Hospital and to create a new community mental health hub in each of the two boroughs – bringing more community services together under one roof. No beds or services would be cut under the proposals.
Under the plans, service users would benefit from a brand new inpatient facility, as well as having early access to modern, welcoming and non-stigmatising mental health facilities in the community.
The proposals describe how specialist hospital care could be provided in future; in environments that are safe, therapeutic and maintain individual privacy. The Victorian buildings that form St Pancras Hospital were never designed to deliver mental health care. Significant sums are being spent on maintaining the old buildings and a huge amount of money would be needed to upgrade them to meet modern standards. Even then, the Trust would be restricted in the changes it could make due to the limitations of the buildings.
In addition, there is a need to make community services more accessible, closer to where people live and work. Evidence shows that when people access services earlier, outcomes are better and hospital admissions can be avoided. The development of two new community mental health hubs – including one in Camden and another in Islington – would support early intervention and help people to live well. The hubs would deliver joined up mental health and wellbeing services, with other health and voluntary sector partners, taking a holistic approach to meet each individual’s specific needs.
The Trust would self-fund the plans through releasing the value on most of the land at the St Pancras Hospital site by leasing it on a long-term basis. The Trust would retain a presence on the site and most of its community services would continue to be delivered there. The development would include a significant number of affordable homes prioritised for NHS staff. It would also host a new Institute of Mental Health, in collaboration with UCL Partners, to turn cutting edge research into innovative mental health care and treatment for service users. Other NHS provider services currently based on the site would also remain.
Dr Vincent Kirchner, Medical Director of Camden and Islington Foundation Trust said: “At the heart of these proposals is our clinical vision; to increase early intervention, deliver a holistic approach to care by working more closely with health and voluntary sector partners and to co-produce services with service users, carers and staff. We need an estate that enables delivery of these ambitions and that’s what these proposals look to achieve. I strongly encourage all service users, carers and local people to have their say about the plans. Only with this input can we shape and deliver the best possible services and meet the needs of our service users.”
Tony Hoolaghan, Chief Operating Officer of Islington CCG said: “Islington Clinical Commissioning Group and Camden Clinical Commissioning Group want to provide the very best mental health care for our residents by building services around their needs and those of their carers and families.
“Our local communities have told us they want a more joined- up health and care system and they want care closer to where they live and work, delivered by a professional and compassionate health and care workforce. We want to continue listening to local people’s views, ideas and any concerns they may have. A number of meetings and events are planned between now and 26 September where local people can have their say.”
Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy said: “London is often at the heart of innovation, and this exciting redevelopment is another example of the city at its pioneering best. The new and ambitious mental health facility will deliver world class services, benefiting NHS patients across the country.
"I'm delighted to see that there are plans to build at least 90 affordable homes for NHS staff. This is a critical part of our ambition to make the NHS an employer of choice.”
The public consultation will run between 6 July and 12 October. There are three public events scheduled for 11, 19 July and 26 September 2018.
Full details of the consultation ‘Transforming mental health services in Camden and Islington: Proposals for change to the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust Estate’ are available at www.islingtonccg.nhs.uk/stpancras