Henderson Campaign

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Save the Henderson Campaign Blog

Urgent Messages

Please feel free to leave urgent notes for others below this line. Please use four tilde ~ characters before your comment to tell us who sent the text

Maz 19:06, 11 February 2008 (GMT)Please support the Lobby Day on 18th February-details below. Thanks.

And above this line


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Debate in Parliament between MPs and Health Minister to discuss Henderson Hospital on Wed 16th January 4-4.30 pm in Westminster Hall.

Text transcription of the debate from Hansard

Live video of the debate

Begins about 2/3rds of the way through, after the debate on terrorism

Lobby Day

Mon 18th February Paul Burstow's office have organised a Lobby Day re Henderson in Westminster in Grand Committee Rm for 2.30pm – 4.30pm on Monday 18th Feb. This is another good opportunity to raise the profile of Henderson among politicians and the media.

If people want to attend they should contact their MP asap to inform them they will be attending and/or that they would like their MP to attend (this would help the House keep upto date on numbers attending). Directions: go to St Stephen's Entrance and the police will direct you to the Grand Committee Room, you should allow some extra time to get through the security bag check.

It would also be good if people who have used other theraputic communities encouraged their MPs to go, to highlight the whole issue of funding for TCs.


House of Commons Written Answers 7 January 2008

Henderson Hospital: Closures
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) services funded by the Henderson hospital and (b) proposals to provide those services via alternate means. [176860]
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The provision of health services, including mental health services, is a matter for the local national health service.
The link above gives an opportunity to comment, on the They Work For You website]

House of Commons Written Answers 10 January 2008

Henderson Hospital: Closures
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had on the planned closure of the Henderson Hospital; and if he will make a statement. [176859]
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Secretary of State for Health, (Alan Johnson) has had no discussions with the local national health service regarding the proposed closure of the Henderson Hospital, as this is a matter for the local NHS.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Care Services (Mr. Lewis) spoke to Peter Houghton, Chief Executive of South West London and St George’s Mental Health National Health Service Trust by telephone regarding the Trust’s proposals to close the Henderson Hospital on 17 December 2007.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Care Services also met with clinicians from Henderson Hospital, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health, managers from South West London, and St. George’s Mental Health National Health Service Trust, the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) and the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) on 8 January 2008 to discuss this issue.


Trust Board Report on the Henderson Closure

Click here for the REPORT: Includes the proposal for and rationale for recommendation for closure

Trust Press Release: December 2008

South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
Henderson Hospital
‘Today at its meeting the Board regrettably decided to close the Henderson Hospital in Sutton. Over the past 18 months managers and staff have worked hard in their attempts to secure a sustainable future for the service.
‘This decision reflects the reduction in funded referrals and income from commissioners, and the expectation that this reduction will continue. This is a result of Primary Care Trust commissioners investing in other areas of personality disorder services locally, in line with recent Department of Health policy guidance. The Trust can no longer afford to subsidise the hospital at the expense of other services.
‘The Board is committed as a result of this decision to work with commissioners and others to explore the possibility of finding suitable alternative placements for current and future clients and to find suitable alternative employment for staff wherever possible.
‘The Board recognised the tremendous contribution that the Henderson has made to the lives of people with personality disorder over the past 60 years. It is with great sadness that this decision has been taken.’
Peter Houghton
Chief Executive
13 December 2007


Community of Communities/Royal College of Psychiatrists

Press Statement. Monday, 17 December 2007
Royal College of Psychiatrists' Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) statement on the closure of the Henderson Hospital in Surrey
The Henderson Hospital is part of the Community of Communities, a quality network run by the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) which recognises the high standards of Therapeutic Communities (TCs) in the UK and internationally, and improves them by sharing best practice. The Henderson itself has been part of this development and is due to be put forward for accreditation early in the New Year. The accreditation process was designed in partnership with mental health commissioners, so this clearly demonstrates that the NHS priority is low cost rather than high quality.
Dr Chris Holman, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, and Chair of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, said "It is a great blow to hear of the plan to close the Henderson. For sixty years the Henderson has been the flagship of Therapeutic Communities, offering an innovative and imaginative treatment to people with complex psychological needs. The Henderson has always stood for empowerment of the person using the service, and the healing power of the human relationship, reducing reliance on medication and medical intervention."
"Therapeutic Communities place the person using the service at the heart of the work, involving him or her in the planning and delivery of high quality psychological treatment through the shared work of the Community. Safety is managed by offering intense and supportive relationships with staff and fellow-patients, through which are discovered the means to cope with life positively. They encourage self-reliance and a commitment to recovery, and build in people who often have had terrible life experiences a capacity for hope and the strength to build new relationships and new beginnings. People who have been through the Henderson will testify to the life-changing experience it can be."
"The Henderson has been able to demonstrate through extensive study of outcome that their treatment does produce positive change in a group of people to whom psychiatry often offers little. They have contributed significantly to building the hope behind documents like 'Personality Disorder: Not a Diagnosis of Exclusion', and recent development in services for people with Personality Disorder. They have been a vital training resource for therapists of all disciplines, and have influenced two generations of mental health professionals."
"People with Personality Disorders and with the complex consequences of early life trauma, usually with histories of dangerous self-harm or eating disorders, sometimes with histories of violence or behaviours dangerous to others, will continue at times to need treatment in a residential setting. There will now be fewer such settings, with the danger either that people receive inadequate treatment, or that they are placed in a setting where safety is ensured by the building being secure. Professionals and people in need of services will alike regret the passing of an influential model of humane clinical practice, and a setting where they could find intensive help with major mental health problems."

Dr Rex Haigh, Project Lead for Community of Communities said, "The decision to close the Henderson Hospital shows the short-sightedness of the Government's plans for the NHS. On one hand they are saying that psychological treatment should be much more available, yet this decision means that whose need is most severe (that is patients who cannot be helped by the outpatient Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and are not helped by medication either) are having the only treatment that might help them taken away."
"Given the statistics for suicide in borderline personality disorder, it will almost certainly result in a number of deaths per year in people whose social and emotional environment has failed them throughout their lives. Some luckier ones may end up in prison or as revolving-door patients in psychiatric hospitals. The Henderson Hospital is known throughout the world for its pioneering work since the Second World War. We need more beds for severely abused and traumatised people, not less"
For further information please contact Deborah Hart or Thomas Kennedy in the External Affairs Department.
Telephone: 020 7235 2351 Extensions. 127 or 154
E-mail: dhart@rcpsych.ac.uk or tkennedy@rcpsych.ac.uk.


"Mind comments on the closure of Henderson Hospital", 17 December 2007
"Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"It would appear that peculiarities in the funding of NHS services are to blame for the closure of this valued specialist hospital. In the past, the NHS paid from a central budget for patients who used the Henderson hospital but under new reforms money now follows patients from their local primary care trust's budgets. But the money and the patients are no longer going to the Henderson because primary care trusts deem it too expensive." <snip>


January 11, 2008 Legal action taken to save the Henderson Hospital
""The Henderson Hospital is not the only unit to become such a casualty: the renowned National Psychosis Unit at the Maudsley Hospital, which has been treating the most psychotic patients, is due to close half its beds; and the Cassell Hospital, which takes in severely disturbed families, is also under threat.
"This short term thinking endangers specialist hospitals who have shown that, by the intensive treatment they provide, people can become far more able to live with their mental health problems and avoid relapse."
December 17, 2007 Marjorie Wallace on "The Closure of Henderson Hospital
“SANE is deeply concerned that the country’s only national resource for people with the most complex mental health needs is to close on the grounds of an inhumane costing system. It is the equivalent of announcing the closure of the Royal Marsden Hospital for cancer patients or Moorfields Eye Hospital. <snip>

Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam

"Henderson Hospital Closure Plan Short sighted", 17 December 2007

London Liberal Democrats

"Closure of Henderson Hospital", 17 December 2007
"Commenting on the announcement that the Henderson Hospital in Sutton is to close, Tom Brake, who visited the hospital previously when its funding was threatened said, "This is depressing news." <snip>



"Bid to rescue mental health unit" By Jane Dreaper, BBC News, Health correspondent, 11 January 2008

BBC Radio 4

Dr Diana Menzies on the Today Programme, 17 December 2008

BBC London Television

Henderson patients and Dr. Diana Menzies


Community Care

"Henderson Hospital to shut after 60 years", 18 December 2008

The Daily Mail

"Personality disorder centre to close to cut NHS Trust's costs", 17 December 2007

The Guardian

MPs and patients fight to save pioneering mental health unit, by Sara Gaines. 15 January 2008
"Campaign to save top mental health unit", by Clare Horton. 24 December 2007
"A service in disorder: The impending closure of the specialist Henderson Hospital in Surrey will leave sufferers of personality disorder untreated", by Paul Farmer, 18 December 2007.
Followed by considerable commentary by others
"Pioneering mental health unit may be closed", 17 December 2007

The Independent

"Letters: Henderson Hospital. Losing the vital Henderson Hospital would be a national loss, M. Ruttley, 1 January 2008.
"Sir: The letter from Peter Houghton and Dr Ben Nereli (28 December) regarding the closure of Henderson Hospital is an outrage. It suggests that other residential hospitals are available to those who need intensive treatment for complex personality disorder.
"Where are these units that can provide a similar level of intensive, residential, non-medicated psychotherapeutic and socio-therapeutic care as Henderson, which are also not under threat of closure? The only similar therapeutic communities are The Main House (Birmingham) and the Cassel (Ham) and both face the threat of closure due to funding.
"Most Henderson residents have experienced acute trauma, childhood abuse or neglect which has severely damaged their ability to function and cope. Mental health trusts do provide user-led or day-patient services which cater for the needs of people in distress or who have personality disorders, but these do not provide the intensive care needed for some people with complex needs, myself included.
"Without the Henderson I would not have been able to engage with more traditional psychiatric or less intensive services and I have no doubt my extreme self-destructive behaviour would have won.
"To close the Henderson would be a national loss; the hospital also provides teaching and research and is a leading therapeutic community model with an international reputation.
"Closure will also cost the taxpayer more; statistics show that those who engage with Henderson are less dependent on psychiatric services after leaving, therefore recouping the cost.
"The decision to close services such as Henderson should not lie with primary care trusts, or local mental health services, because, as a tertiary service and a national resource, closure has a nationwide impact. Yet the decision to close Henderson Hospital has been a local one, with no public consultation. M Ruttley, Wallington, Surrey
Letter re-printed in full with permission of the author. THANK YOU!
"Mental hospital closure plan is condemned as 'inhumane'" 18 December 2007

The Independent on Sunday

Letters: "Best treatment for personality disorder", 30 December 2007
  • Peter Houghton, Chief Executive and Dr Ben Nereli, Medical Director - South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, London SW17
  • Andy Vant, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire (Staff member, Main House Therapeutic Community, Birmingham)

The Mirror

"Points of Disorder", 19 December 2007
NHS Axing Sparks Fury, 18 December 2007

The Observer

Letters: "We can all help save children from suicide", 23 December 2007
  • Alan M Talbot, Chelmsford, Essex
"I worked for more than 30 years in the mental health field as a mental welfare officer, a psychiatric social worker and a Jungian analyst. The late Sixties and early Seventies were a halcyon time when there appeared to be many more innovative and creative therapeutic facilities, both statutory and voluntary. Many have now closed for dubious political and financial reasons and with the proposed shutdown of the Henderson hospital in Surrey, a centre specialising in the treatment of personality disorders, it appears this trend is continuing despite the increasing need for such places."

Local Guardian

"Sutton mental health hospital faces closure"
With added comments by a number of former Henderson residents (patients) 13 December 2007
"Future of mental health hospital at risk" 13 December 2007
"Anger at decision to close Henderson" 18 December 2007
"Henderson Hospital closure 'an obscenity'" 19 December 2007

Health Service Journal

Health Service Journal 14 January 2008


Family and Ex-Residents talk about The Henderson

Staff and Former Staff talk about The Henderson

Others' Experiences of the Henderson


Forums, blogs and such

Democratic Deficit.org
Talk Depression .org.uk
News Sniffer
"Kate's Blog OR... "News from (nearly the middle of) Nowhere""
NowPubilc: Crowd powered media
Loir, Former member of Henderson team, on Fool.co.uk
Save The Henderson Discussion Forum
Facebook Feeds. Family Web Pages Collective
Nacro Mental Health Unit
Nacro is the leading criminal justice charity in England and Wales
Keep Our NHS Public]
Green the NHS
Fade the Blog
Henderson Hosp <GrainneF669> "SAVE THE HENDO" on bebo
Mad World - Community Care Blog
Sean Morrin - bebo page
SSRI Discussion Forum
"The Henderson Saved My Life" - "Psychminded: For all who work in psychology, psychiatry and mental health"
More on Mad World
Shetlink - Connecting Shetland
"Closing a Therapeutic Community"
A very interesting comment from 'Politics, Policy and Administration', the University of Liverpool Masters in Public Administration blog
And another
"Save the Henderson"
A forum by ex- resident 'Karl' who is doing much to try to spread the word and prevent closure
"Save the Henderson and contact ex-Henderson residents"
A forum by an ex- resident to give ex-residents the chance of contacting other ex-residents and retain anonymity, and also to highlight the threat to the Henderson


Save The Henderson
Save the Henderson
Save the Henderson (Therapeutic Community)
Save therapeutic communities


Background and other material related to threat of closure, early 2007
Personal tools
radioTC international
what else is here?