Mental health chiefs hit back at ‘worst treatment’ claims

THE mental health service for Islington has hit back at reports that it provides the worst schizophrenia treatment in London – as it consults on plans to cut two hospitals and 95 beds.

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust was last week branded by the Evening Standard as the “worst performing” trust in the capital when it comes to caring for patients with the disorder.

Medical guidelines say they should be offered a counselling treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy – but figures show less than one third of people were offered CBT in 2008/2009.

A spokesman for the trust said the damning claims were unfairly based on a single statistic in a two-year-old report by the Care Quality Commission – which had given the trust an overall rating of “excellent” in the same year.

He added: “Since these figures came out two years ago we have responded by training 86 more members of staff to support our service users with additional CBT sessions.

“Camden and Islington has received the highest ratings in inner London from service users for the last two years in the annual NHS-wide survey.”

The trust is currently consulting on plans to cut the number of mental health centres in Camden and Islington from four to two, and the number of beds by around a third, from 304 to 209.

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Health campaigner Shirley Franklin, chairwoman of the Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition, said: “The idea that we don’t need these beds is nonsense. There are clearly not enough as it is.”

Public meetings will be held as part of the consultation, on Monday (February 21) at the Resource Centre, in Holloway Road, Holloway, and on March 1 at Hanley Road Day Centre, in Hanley Road, Finsbury Park, both at 7pm.

The consultation closes March 28. See for more details.