A secure mental health unit in St Helens is to close after it was branded “not fit for purpose” in a damning report by NHS bosses.
For more than 30 years the Scott Clinic in Rainhill has provided expert psychiatric care for offenders suffering mental ill health.
But now plans have been unveiled to close the medium security clinic altogether and transfer its services to a new facility on the Ashworth Hospital site near Liverpool - where infamous Moors Murderer Ian Brady has resided since 1985.
Bosses insist they anticipate no jobs risk to the clinic’s 170 staff.
In recent years the clinic, off Elton Head Road, which provides forensic mental health assessment, care and treatment for up to 48 male and eight female offenders, has struggled to keep up with demand - with 30 per cent of inpatients admitted to hospitals outside their local area.
A consultation report penned by the Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs both Scott Clinic and Ashworth Hospital, says the clinical service provided by Scott Clinic staff remains highly rated.
But the building, one of the first purpose-built medium secure units when it opened in 1983, is no longer classed as “fit for purpose”.
Anne Kenwright, director of transformation for secure services, said: “The trust has considered a number of options including refurbishing the Scott Clinic and a new build. After due consideration the site at Maghull which houses Ashworth Hospital is the preferred option as there will be numerous benefits for co-locating secure services.”
They plan to create a new medium secure hospital next to Ashworth Hospital, which could open as soon as December 2016.
A six-week consultation period will see the trust bid to gauge reactions to the proposal from staff, patients and carers, NHS England, local councillors and MPs and members of the public.
Ms Kenwright added: “There are plans to relocate the services provided at Scott Clinic to Maghull close to Ashworth Hospital. It is not expected that there will be any risk to jobs.”