Following news that London's only HIV/AIDS Hospital, made famous by Princess Diana, faces closure, Rushanara Ali MP joined the team at Mildmay Hospital to support their campaign.
The planned closure, blamed on NHS funding pressures, would close the doors on London’s only AIDS/HIV hospital, made famous by Diana, Princess of Wales when she visited in the 1980s and took the hand of a patient.
The cost – around £5m a year – represents a tiny slice of the NHS budget, and the cost of treating HIV patients in other parts of the NHS would be more expensive. Doctors, patients, MPs and campaigners are calling on the Government to grant Mildmay enough funding for another year, while new sources of income can be found.
Prince Harry, continuing his mother's passion, opened Mildmay’s brand new building in 2015 and it is still the only specialist hospital in Europe providing neurological rehabilitation for people with HIV.
Despite huge medical advances in the treatment of AIDS/HIV since the disease first came to the public’s attention in the 1980s, there is still a significant number of HIV patients in urgent need of the services Mildmay provides. NHS doctors say that this treatment will be required for years to come.
Even though Mildmay actually costs less per patient than acute NHS hospitals and its highly-skilled doctors, nurses and therapists are experts in specialist HIV care, desperately sick patients are not being transferred from London’s NHS hospitals and are blocking beds that are urgently needed by other patients.
Because Mildmay is a charity providing NHS services and not an NHS Trust, when it runs out of money, it will simply have to close. MPs and Government Ministers are considering whether Mildmay’s unique services can be commissioned directly by NHS England like other specialist services already are, but time is running out.
Geoff Coleman, Mildmay’s CEO said: ‘Frustrated doctors across London have already come out in support of Mildmay, saying that if the hospital closes, hundreds of NHS patients will suffer.
Overburdened NHS services just do not have the capacity to manage yet another group of patients with a chronic long-term condition such as HIV.’
Rushanara Ali MP said -
‘‘Ministers must step in to save Mildmay Mission Hospital. Mildmay provides a vital specialist service for patients living with HIV.
It would take £5m a year to keep Mildmay open, which is a tiny slice of the NHS budget. It is an entirely false economy to close this hospital and force patients into other parts of the NHS without the same medical specialism.
We are calling on the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to intervene and save Mildmay before it is too late."
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Notes to editors:
Mildmay has been caring for the people of London for over 153 years. It first opened as a charitable hospital in response to the cholera epidemic that devastated East London in the 1860s, and for the last 35 years, Mildmay has led the field in HIV and AIDS rehab and care.
Uganda - Mildmay Uganda has been successfully running as an independent charity for over six years and during that time they have continued to grow. The hospital started twenty years ago and in that time they have grown to be an organisation with a reach of nearly six and a half million people.
In the past year the hospital:
- Tested 660,502 patients for HIV
- Reached 33,000 girls as part of their ‘Adolescent girls and young women project@ receiving a minimum of three preventative services
- Helped to deliver 5,700 babies
- Supported 107,132 adults and 6,119 children with lifesaving HIV drugs
Kenya - Mildmay Kenya works to empower communities to deliver HIV health care services through support, education and training. We work to reach key affected and at-risk groups including young women, children, adolescents, MSM and sex workers.
There are 1.6 million adults and children living with HIV in Kenya
Mildmay was again selected to implement the next round of Global Fund for HIV project
- Kenya’s Siaya County region has an HIV prevalence of nearly 25%, four times the national rate. We targeted tens of thousands of young people and adolescents in this area with HIV prevention strategies.
- Nearly 17,500 young people received HIV testing services, with 369 referred for HIV care and support
- The Magnet Theatre project got word out on HIV prevention, testing and education to some 17,700 young people, with testing available with parental consent
- Over 2,600 women, referred by community health volunteers, took part in health education sessions and all accessed an HIV test. 145 joined our programme to eliminate mother-to-child transmission
- 2,130 women were given access to trained midwives, with resulting safer and better care for mother and child. Nearly 120 new mothers were HIV-positive, and we are following up their babies
- Nearly 170 babies at high risk of HIV infection were followed up for HIV prevention for 18 months, with 62 graduating as HIV-negative