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Breakthrough in mental health campaign

A hospital is to be replaced by community-based units following a lengthy campaign by the Bristol Evening Post to improve mental health services.

In August the Post was given exclusive access behind the scenes at Barrow Hospital, near Bristol, and under the headline, “Where Hope Runs Out”, reported how dedicated staff were struggling to cope in the dingy conditions.

The hospital will now close as part of a 10-year upgrading of the mental health service agreed by the government.

The Post launched The Abandoned campaign after schizophrenic Matthew Martin was ordered to be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for killing his father Michael.

Since then mental health has continued to feature heavily in the Evening Post:

March 2: The Evening Post revealed that, in three years, 22 mentally ill people in Bristol had either killed themselves or harmed others.

March 20: Bosses fail to send trained staff to suicidal schizophrenic Brett Waltra because it is “beyond normal office hours”.

April 5: A £1.2m secure unit for the mentally ill in Bristol is delayed by cash crisis.

November 10: An internal inquiry into the death of a patient at Barrow reveals staff were using an old nappy box to store life-saving equipment.

November 11: Mentally ill Darren Blagrove was detained indefinitely for stabbing a policeman – seven years after being jailed for killing neighbourhood watch volunteer June Parkes.

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