St Pancras Hospital could be turned into NHS staff housing under plans to move mental health beds to Whittington Hospital
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Camden and Islington’s mental health trust is consulting on plans to pool its inpatient beds at a new site at the Whittington Hospital.
The consultation, announced earlier this month, suggests moving beds at St Pancras Hospital to Archway, where the new hub would combine services for both boroughs in one unit.
The plan will also see 90 new houses, prioritised for NHS staff, created at the existing St Pancras hospital site. Camden and Islington NHS Trust (C&I) says no beds or services will be lost as a result.
C&I came in for criticism in 2015 for sending mental health patients out of the area due to a lack of beds. Some were sent as far away as Somerset.
The shortages were made worse by C&I cutting beds by nearly a fifth between 2011 and 2014.
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If approved, the latest plans could be in place by June 2023.
It’s partly been triggered by rising costs of maintaining the Victorian hospital site in Pancras Road, according to health chiefs, which say the existing building is increasingly unsuitable for providing mental health care.
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Once the Whittington site is completed, part of the St Pancras site will be leased out to generate cash. Some community mental health services will still be provided there.
A C&I spokesman said the trust would make sure patients’ routines weren’t disrupted during the process.
“We do not underestimate the impact of change, but believe the benefits will outweigh the concerns,” he said.
“The move itself will be carefully managed to ensure as little disruption as possible. The new inpatient building will be built and service users transferred before any of the major building work starts.”
He also said he hoped the change would make services more accessible, despite potentially moving them further away from some people.
“The development of three new community mental health hubs – including one in Camden, another in Islington and a third on the St Pancras site – would support early intervention and help people to live well,” he said.
The public consultation will run until October 12. There will be public meetings today (Thu) and September 26. Both will run from 6pm to 8pm at St Pancras Hospital.
The consultation can also be completed online.