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Ms Winterton: I met the chief executives of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Southwark PCT about their plans for implementation. I was advised by them that closing the clinic would enable the trust to direct resources—clinical staff as well as financial resources—where it
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feels that they can most benefit patients. The local NHS also thinks that the current system of crisis care is quite complex and confusing and needs to be clearer for patients. In particular, I am told that the clinic’s facilities are not designed for people with complex problems who perhaps need to stay overnight while awaiting further assessment, as there is inadequate space and a lack of privacy and dignity. The walk-in facility is sometimes closed because people must stay in the clinic overnight. The trust thinks that that is not good enough.

An important part of providing people with effective care is getting a clear, written plan of care agreed between health professionals and patients, focusing on what to do when somebody is experiencing a mental health crisis, what the individual’s trigger-point symptoms for a crisis are, what help is available and how to get it. I am informed that the trust is going
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through plans for every person who has used the clinic in the past year to ensure that that is in place.

As I have said, extra investment will be made available. I am conscious of the point made about reassurance, and I will refer to the Secretary of State, the Strategic Health Authority and the PCT the concerns expressed by the hon. Gentleman and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the transition process. I hope that that will allow us to move forward and give people the confidence that they are asking for. It is important that we move forward with the plans in consultation with local stakeholders to ensure that replacements for the clinic meet the needs of patients and the public in the area.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twelve minutes to Eleven o’clock.

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