Improving inpatient mental health care in Kent and Medway

Date added: 03 August 2021

Local people are being encouraged to respond to a public consultation on proposals to relocate Kent and Medway’s one remaining ‘dormitory’ style inpatient mental health ward – Ruby Ward – from Medway Maritime Hospital to a new purpose-built unit in Maidstone. The consultation, led by Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will run for seven weeks, until midnight on Tuesday 21 September.

Although Ruby Ward is based at Medway Maritime Hospital, it is run by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT). The ward is for older adults (people aged 65 and over) with what is known as ‘functional mental illness’, for example severe depression, schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder. At the moment Ruby Ward is only for female patients and admits women from across Kent and Medway.

The proposed new unit would be located on KMPT’s Hermitage Lane, Maidstone site. It would be designed specifically to meet the needs of older adults with complex mental illness, with single ensuite rooms and dedicated space for providing a range of therapies such as counselling, group therapy and creative activities. There would be dedicated areas indoors and outside for patients and visitors, and facilities to help people relearn essential skills such as cooking and cleaning. It is anticipated that this environment would help patients recover faster, meaning they would be well enough to go home sooner.

The proposal would enable the NHS in Kent and Medway to meet a national Government target of eradicating all dormitory style wards for mental health patients by 2024.

Full details about the consultation, including a consultation document, background information and the consultation questionnaire are available at Information can also be requested in hard copy by calling 01634 335095 selecting option 2 or emailing There will be opportunities for people to get involved over the next seven weeks, including virtual public meetings and face to face drop in exhibitions and information will be published on the CCG website as it becomes available.