Three mental health units opened to help care for people during coronavirus outbreak

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

Mental health experts are opening three hubs to help support patients who are being seen at A&E departments and need dedicated mental health care during the coronavirus outbreak.

Because of the social distancing rules, patients are asked not to turn up to mental health emergency assessment centres as the NHS changes the way it is doing things as part of its emergency response.

But the move means that staff at the hubs at St Charles Hospital off Ladbroke Grove, Northwick Park, near Harrow, and Hillingdon will help patients at A&E who need dedicated mental health.

The hubs are designed as bases for staff to work from so they can travel around to different hospitals to meet needs if necessary.

The NHS says the decision to centralise staff helps it cope with cover for those staff who are off sick or self-isolating, and boosts emergency care to keep people with mental crises out of A&E departments.

A Central North West London NHS Trust spokesman said its home treatment teams and community mental health teams are working seven-days-a-week to provide care as usual.

Wards are also still admitting patients at St Charles Mental Health Service at Ladbroke Grove.

The trust said it was “taking appropriate measures to support any patients with possible Covid-19 symptoms or illness”.

Last week the trust reported it was treating two patients with coronavirus at St Charles Hospital.

Some patients have also been moved out of the hospital into the community and are getting help from the home treatment team.

CNWL has also closed three inpatients wards at the Gordon Hospital in Westminster, where 23 patients were being treated last week.  However it had 65 empty beds at other hospitals in London.

People who need mental health support and their carers are urged to use the Single Point of Access telephone number on 0800 023 650 or email

The helpline is available 24 hours-a-day and offers  support for residents in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, as well as Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

And people who are affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster can still access help. The team is offering remote support over the phone, via Zoom and other digital technology.

The Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service is on 020 8 637 6279 between 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 9am to 8pm at weekends or by emailing

Pictured top: St Charles Hospital in Ladbroke Grove

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