St Albans mental health facility may be reprieved

A RETHINK has been made on the future of a mental health facility earmarked for closure.

Proposals to shut The Causeway in King Harry Lane, St Albans, which offers 14 rehabilitation places for people who have enduring mental health problems including eating disorders, were met with a wave of protest when announced earlier this year.

Owners of the facility, Herts County Council (HCC), and the Herts Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT), which run it, wanted to offer community-based care instead to save around half a million pounds – a third of the social care savings required in the current financial year.

The Causeway was then going to be used as a short-stay unit for people recovering from acute mental illness which requires 24-hour inpatient care – a service currently provided in a nine-bed unit in the grounds of Harperbury Hospital which is felt to be too remote.

Patients currently stay at The Causeway, which has been in place for at least a decade, for around six months to two years.

But it is now understood that new proposals may see it kept open in a form similar to present – but HCC were unable to give any details.

St Albans MP Anne Main welcomed the news: “I think it’s fantastic, a lot of people that have contacted me have said it is a vital support line in St Albans and we don’t want to see any services like this cut. This is something that really needs to stay in St Albans.”

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A spokesperson for HCC said: “Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust are revisiting the original proposals for the Causeway.

“A final decision on whether to accept the revised proposals will be made by the council’s cabinet on July 18.”