Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Wednesday 2nd July 7pm

Tier 4 Personality Disorders Joint Health Scrutiny Committee

This committee was formed as a result of the proposed closure of the Henderson Hospital, which offers a tier 4 residential service for people with severe personality disorders. The Henderson Hospital is a specialist service provider with commissioning arrangements with 62 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).


A number of local authority’s Health Scrutiny Committees in the commissioning areas agreed that the proposed closure represented a substantial variation of service requiring public consultation. The Joint Commissioning Group is now making arrangements for public consultation.


Because of the huge area potentially affected by the closure and the consultation, the nature of the commissioning arrangements, and the impact on tier 4 service provision for people with personality disorders, it had been agreed necessary to form this joint health scrutiny committee to look at the implications of the Henderson closure on this service.


The committee is made up of five representatives of Local Authorities who will be attending the meetings, and thirteen Local Authorities who wish to receive committee papers with possible written involvement. As the representative member of the local authority where the Henderson is based I was elected to chair this committee, and Cllr Sheila Knight from our neighbouring borough of Merton was elected vice-chair.


This first meeting of the committee was an information gathering session and pre-consultation discussion.


Cllr. Knight expressed her concerns about assumptions being made about the needs assessment population. It also became apparent from the information received that it was almost impossible to separate the commissioning arrangements from the consideration of the need for this specialist service. PCTs make decisions based on cost as well as need, and may not make referrals to a specialist service if the commissioning arrangements mean that it requires a significant portion of their resources which could otherwise be spent on a number of other patients. It is significant that the number of referrals to the Henderson dropped considerably when the funding arrangements were devolved to local PCTs from the previous national arrangement.


Representatives of the Henderson’s ex-residents campaign group were invited to give their comments on the current situation.


The committee advised that it would like to see a copy of the draft consultation document when it is ready in August so that our written comments can be submitted to the consultation working party board when the consultation is submitted for approval.


The next meeting of the committee is expected to be around February next year to hear the results of the consultation.


July 9, 2008 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this information. The Henderson, like other therapeutic communities, offers the kind of care that treats a person, a community and a society rather than dosing people up with psychiatric drugs – very cheap by comparison – or emprisoning them – somehow more satisfying to society than care. I work in a secure psychiatric adolescent unit where children who have been abused by adults find themselves punished rather than treated. Many of them would find greater wellbeing, a lot less lifelong stigma and something like self-esteem if they could go somewhere like the Henderson.

    Thank you for your work on this matter. Everyone knows it’s money rather than anything to do with health that drives this kind of shutdown.

    Best wishes

    Clare Slaney

    Comment by clare slaney | July 22, 2008 | Reply

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