Concern over psychiatric hospital

A PSYCHIATRIC hospital will open in May despite concerns from nearby residents. Cygnet Hospital, in Graveley Road, Stevenage, is a 90-bed facility offering a range of psychiatric services. Permission for the hospital was granted by Stevenage Borough Counc

A PSYCHIATRIC hospital will open in May despite concerns from nearby residents.

Cygnet Hospital, in Graveley Road, Stevenage, is a 90-bed facility offering a range of psychiatric services.

Permission for the hospital was granted by Stevenage Borough Council in August 2005.

But one resident of nearby Granby Road contacted The Comet to say he believes there should have been more public consultation before work started on the building.


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He said: "It is a monstrous building. It looks like a prison. No one seems to know what is going on. Is it right that it is going to be so close to Lister Hospital's maternity unit?"

John Hoar, regional director for Cygnet, a provider of psychiatric treatment and long term care in the UK, said the new hospital would offer a mixed selection of psychiatric services for teenagers and adults both male and female.

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The hospital, which will have six wards, will open on May 8.

Mr Hoar said the hospital is classed as medium security which is "for people who are more significantly at risk than the general population".

Nearly all patients will be from the NHS but he said one example where the hospital would be used would be if someone was arrested for smashing a window in the town centre and "clearly had mental health issues" and was "mad rather than bad".

He wants to reassure residents concerned by the opening of the hospital.

He said: "People have fears that the hospital will house the criminally insane. People like Ian Brady are held in high security. A high security hospital would not be suitable for Stevenage. Our hospital will not be used by very dangerous people. They are more a risk to themselves than anyone else.

"People get very nervous and psychiatry gets a negative press."

He invited those with specific concerns about the opening of the hospital to write to him at 22 Corfton Road, Ealing, London, W5 2HT.

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