A Bexleyheath hospital unit for mental health patients has closed.

News Shopper was alerted to the shutting of North House in Erith Road by an anonymous “concerned carer”.

The 14-bed facility, which provided rehabilitation services for in-patients, closed on November 24.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust told News Shopper it is trying to ensure more rehabilitation can take place in a patient's own home or supported tenancy.

Many of the patients have been transferred to a similar unit, Somerset Villa, in Lodge Hill, Abbey Wood and the majority of staff have been given jobs elsewhere in the trust.

However the carer who contacted News Shopper is worried about what has happened to the previous residents in Somerset Villa and the trust's transparency.

They said: “Many North House patients have been moved to Somerset Villa but staff don't know where the previous patients there have been moved to.

“Oxleas provide a service for Bexley families and their overall plan for our services are not transparent.

“Where are patients being transferred to if they are no longer in the borough?”

The news comes shortly after Oxleas did a u-turn on the Woodlands Unit, another mental health services unit. 

The trust had considered making it for older people but has decided to keep it for working age patients.

An Oxleas spokeswoman said: “The care of our patients is our top priority and any significant service change includes consultation and discussion with patients and their families.

"North House opened when Bexley Hospital closed around 15 years ago.

"At that time, patients from Bexley Hospital received rehabilitation designed to help them move towards independent living.

"However, changes in the way we offer support to patients with long term mental health problems has meant that the type of care offered by North House is now usually offered through community rehabilitation in the patient's own home or supported tenancy.

"These services are already in place in Bexley and are supporting patients discharged from North House, along with other patients requiring community rehabilitation.

“These proposals were agreed with other health and social care agencies in Bexley and discussed with a range of groups representing patients and their families.”

An online Oxleas document also discusses the change towards more independent living.

It says: “The aim of this proposal is to re-provide services for clients in North House in more appropriate settings and support each person to achieve maximum independence and citizenship.” 

Have you been affected by the North House closure? Call the newsdesk on 01689 885 721 or email hwood@london.newsquest.co.uk