IN response to the sad news last week that the George Bryan Centre in Mile Oak is to close, initially temporarily, we have launched a campaign asking the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust to re-think the decision and guarantee against a permanent closure.
Earlier this year, the West Wing of the site suffered a severe fire which resulted in the loss of use of that part of the building – the East Wing, however, was unaffected.
On Friday afternoon (March 15) we learned that the East Wing is to now close to all new admissions and the current 12 patients are to be ‘safely discharged’.
The trust which operates the site, the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust has said that the closure is temporary – but that a ‘robust engagement exercise’ about the future of the service is to take place.
The move means that Tamworth Residents requiring in-patient Mental Health support will need to attend St Georges in Stafford – or further afield
It also means that people from Tamworth visiting friends or relatives will face at least a 60-mile round trip.
The main points of our campaign and petition are to ask MPFT to:
- Ensure that any closure for repairs to the site is temporary.
- Ensure that the unit is fully repaired to enable the same number of patients (as before the fire) to receive inpatient care.
- To rethink the earlier decision to close the s.136 Mental Health Act suite. This closure means that persons requiring immediate assessment are having to travel further – whilst at their most vulnerable point.
In a statement issued by the trust to Tamworth Informed, they have said: “We would like to thank those staff who were at work on the night of the fire whose swift actions ensured no harm came to our patients.
“We now have 12 vulnerable adults staying on a site, the isolated nature of which makes a safe response to medical and psychiatric emergencies very difficult.
“The Board of MPFT has considered the quality, safety and financial risks associated with the remaining isolated unit and has agreed the following:
- East Wing will be closed to new admissions
- The current patients will be safely discharged, which we anticipate taking around two weeks
- The wing is temporarily closed pending a thorough and robust engagement exercise about the future service provision for the people of South Staffordshire.
“We will be re-deploying staff into roles within the Trust and will provide support and training to enable them to undertake different roles, if this is required.”
A reader, who wished to remain anonymous told Tamworth Informed: “My family and myself were devastated to read the sad news on Tamworth Informed regarding the impending closure of the George Bryan Centre at Mile Oak. We have a family member who is a patient there at the moment.
“The care and attention from the staff there is second-to-none, everyone is so caring, with individual attention given to those most in need. They are using the fire of West Wing. As an excuse to close the rest of the unit, which wasn’t affected by the fire in any way.
“The alternative to the George Bryan Centre is a unit in Stafford, which involves a 60 mile two hour round journey to visit on a daily basis. They are victimising the most vulnerable members of society by doing this, as being close to family and friends and having them visit regularly is so important to anyone suffering from Mental Health.
“They need to look long and hard at the possible consequences of their actions regarding this unacceptable closure. This has been a heartless decision made by those who sit in offices and do not live in the real world and who do not care!”