Mayor tours revamped Woodlands unit

Mayor Kim Forward with staff from Woodlands
Mayor Kim Forward with staff from Woodlands

THE town’s mayor took a tour around the revamped Woodlands psychiatric unit and met staff and clinicians.

Councillor Kim Forward visited the centre, which is based at the Conquest Hospital, last Wednesday.

It was the first time she had visited Woodlands, which is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, since it reopened under new management last year.

Woodlands closed in October 2009 following three suicides at the centre.

A police investigation was launched into the trust but it was later dropped without charges being brought forward.

The 23-bed unit reopened last July with a refurbishment designed to make it more difficult for patients to hurt themselves.

Dr Shakil Malik, the trust’s consultant psychiatrist and clinical director for working age adult services, hosted the visit.

Cllr Forward said: “It’s fantastic to see the centre up and running again, as it helps so many people.

“Dr Malik was a wonderful host and is clearly passionate and dedicated to helping others. He is a true treasure to Hastings.”

The visit was also an opportunity for the mayor to hear a presentation about Dr Malik’s recent relief expedition to Pakistan following last summer’s floods.

He said: “It was a great honour for all the staff at Woodlands to have the first citizen of Hastings visit us, hear about the changes and to discuss the centre’s future and importance to the people of the town.

“It was also a rewarding opportunity for me to talk about the expedition to Pakistan and recount the things we saw, how it was such a humbling and emotional experience to see how people can rebuild their lives and battle against the devastation of a natural disaster.”

Dr Malik led a team of three psychiatrists who spent two weeks, given paid leave by the trust, training Pakistani doctors, nurses and teachers to help people cope with the psychological trauma of the devastating floods.

His medical team trained 250 doctors and nurses as well as 90 senior teachers and key workers.