11 JUN 2018

Plans to cut Deal Mental Health Centre opening hours scrapped

Controversial plans to slash hours at Deal Mental Health Centre have been scrapped – and the vital service will now remain open five days a week.

Services at the facility in Bowling Green Lane, near Deal Hospital, were under threat with proposals to run clinics only on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, which manages the building, planned to shut it for the other two days.

But after I contacted them, senior managers at the trust agreed to review the proposals. They have now arranged for community mental health services for older people to run at the site on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so the centre will remain open all week.

As soon as I heard about these plans I was really concerned. We need as many health services as possible in Deal. It's vital that all of us get support close to home. That centre is an important lifeline for anyone in our town struggling with mental health problems.

The trust has assured me there are no plans to review their latest decision, so the centre will remain open all week for the foreseeable future. That's really good news. I want to thank the trust for listening to our concerns. The leadership team has engaged well in recent years and the trust do a good job with ever-increasing demand.

I was alerted to the situation by constituents, including Deal volunteer group Talk It Out. He visited them, along with Deal Town Councillor Keith Lee, at the Landmark Centre on Friday. The group offers a range of free support and now has more than 50 members, up from just a handful when it started seven years ago.

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Charlie Elphicke

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