Addicts 'could bring legal challenge' over plans to move rehab services from Surbiton health centre (From Surrey Comet)
Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
Addicts 'could bring legal challenge' over plans to move rehab services from Surbiton health centre
Users of the community wellbeing service at Surbiton Health Centre, including a needle exchange, and mental health and substance misuse treatment, could oppose the move under the Equality Act.
A report by Dr Jonathan Hildebrand, the joint NHS and Kingston Council director of public health, Dr Jonathan Hildebrand, said an equality impact assessment must be carried out before and after the review – which could cost up to £80,000 – to stave off legal action.
The service has come under fire from parents, governors, and the headteacher at next-door Lime Tree Primary School.
Peter Kelk, who petitioned to have the service moved, said: “I’m very keen that the review of locations should go ahead, or they pick a location.
“It doesn’t seem to me to be that complicated and you don’t need to spend £80,000.”
Councillor Margaret Thompson suggested the review be postponed until the first of those meetings had taken place.
She said: “It’s a lot of money. It’s public money, it’s our money in my mind. We could stand back, take a considered view, and look at it again.”
But overview panel chairman Councillor Neil Houston said: “I wouldn’t want to hold it up given the strength of feeling at the last meeting.”
Councillor Mary Heathcote was appointed “mental health champion” by the panel, of which she is vice-chairman, and will take part in consultation on the review.
Dr Hildebrand said the bill for the review would come to about £40,000 if it looked only at new locations in other health centres and clinics.
But if it has to consider sites with different planning status, that figure could double.
Councillors decided at a health overview and scrutiny panel meeting on Wednesday initially to carry out a less formal, “desk-top” search for new premises, to try to reduce costs.
A new risk assessment would have to be carried out if the service was moved, and patients would be asked their views on possible new sites.
A previous risk assessment by consultants RSM Tenon concluded the wellbeing service should stay where it is, subject to six-monthly reviews involving health providers, residents, and councillors.
That report cost the council £11,880 – including VAT.
Comments are closed on this article.