OVER 50 people picketed a meeting of Lambeth Primary Care Trust (PCT) yesterday, in opposition to the closure of the renowned Emergency Clinic at Maudsley mental health hospital in south London.
They staged an overnight vigil before the meeting and handed out leaflets, which said: ‘24hr crisis services for the mentally ill have been demolished – join the demo . . . Bring a torch to search through the rubble of the NHS.’
They also handed out ‘prescriptions’, which read: ‘Government Lies To Take 40 (forty) mgs daily for twenty eight (28) days’.
Sarah Tonin, from Creative Routes, said: ‘The Maudsley chiefs have killed our crisis centre for the mentally ill.
‘They are therefore humiliating us by making us go to A&E.
‘We lose our dignity and surely we should care about restoring people’s dignity.’
She said there was enough stigma attached to mental illness without patients having to go into a crowded A&E department, ‘with the public watching you having a crisis.’
She added: ‘They have dug an open grave and thrown scraps of rubbish at us, pretending they have replaced our crisis care.’
Dolly Sen, a supporter of the campaign to save the Maudsley Emergency Clinic, said: ‘The emergency service used to be a flagship service. Even SLAM (the South London and Maudsley mental health trust) showed it off.
‘A lot of service users really appreciate there was specialist care for them, with people who really understood what they were going through.
‘Now they’re closing it down and telling people to go to A&E at King’s and to sit with people who are bleeding and cut up and wait five hours minimum to be seen.’
The demonstrators said they intended to make a ‘citizens arrest’, adding: ‘The Maudsley Hospital Managerial Con Artists have almost succeeded in closing the vital 24-hour emergency clinic with a pretend replacement service. The managers are deluded if they think the public are stupid enough to be conned like this.’