Security fears over new mental health facility

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Dozens of people turned out at a meeting to voice their concerns about an inpatient mental health unit opening in Hemel Hempstead.

Fears around security, parking and loss of privacy were expressed at the public meeting on Tuesday evening at Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre.

Health bosses have applied to Dacorum Borough Council to change the St Paul’s unit in Slippers Hill – which currently provides day care mental health services – into an inpatient unit for 18 patients.

Former councillor Geoff Lawrence, who campaigned against the unit when it was first built 19 years ago, told the meeting: “It’s the security I’m concerned about.”

One man said: “There are lots of kids in the area – it only takes two minutes for something to happen.”

An elderly woman said: “I would be absolutely terrified living just round the corner from this.”

Herts Partnership NHS Trust said all patients would be assessed and those deemed dangerous would go elsewhere.

Manager Sarah Warner said 2,300 people in Dacorum had received mental health treatment in the past year. “We currently have no inpatient provision for mental health in Hemel Hempstead,” she said.