In December 2021, we were informed by the London NHS Commissioners (the five ICS’s and the Healthy London Partnership) that our contract to provide medical step-down care for homeless patients across the capital has been extended until March 2023.
The journey has been challenging but with a huge amount of help from our partners such as Pathway, the Royal London Hospital, the East London Foundation Trust and many others, we have together made it a success. A big thank you from all of our staff to those commissioners who have placed their confidence in Mildmay.
A special thanks to our wonderful MP, Rushanara Ali, for her unceasing work to help protect Mildmay from closure and to ensure our future, and to the Health Ministers who listened.
We are continuing to work with all our stakeholders to find a permanent solution for our HIV care and our other services, beyond 2023.
Due to NHS funding pressures, the doors might close at Mildmay - London’s only HIV hospital, made famous by Diana, Princess of Wales when she visited regularly in the 1980s and 90s.
Prince Harry, continuing his mother's passion, opened Mildmay’s new hospital in 2015 and it remains the only specialist hospital in Europe providing neurological rehabilitation for people with HIV.
Despite medical advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS since the disease first came to the public’s attention in the 1980s, there are 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 and they want to keep referring patients to us.
Patients living with HIV might lose their vital specialist services if the controversial closure of Mildmay Mission Hospital goes ahead
Media coverage of the #SaveMildmay Campaign, both in print, TV and online, has been incredibly helpful helping us share our story.
The Campaign was picked up by Reuters, which meant that #SaveMildmay went global, with our story being reported as far away as Canada and Taiwan.
Since February 2020, we have been overwhelmed by the wholehearted support of the public for our campaign to keep Mildmay open.
Our petition quickly gained traction and we now have over 78,000 signatures!
Please sign our petition to tell The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) know that Mildmay Hospital needs to stay open
"I do not live in the London area,
but I want to continue support for Mildmay Hospital.
I am a retired GP. I am aware of the problems of people who
are in hospital, but unable to live independently and for whom it is difficult to find suitable accommodation. Of course, Mildmay is much more than that; it has done pioneering work for HIV patients nearing the end of their lives as well as rehabilitation for many other conditions.
This is an era of centralisation of hospitals, and often there is good reason for that, but smaller hospitals, albeit with links to big hospitals, are needed as well. Not least, patients like the smaller units. Hospices are a good example."
We were set to deliver our petition to Downing Street on March 25 2020, but circumstances changed as the UK rapidly succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been granted several temporary contract extensions since then but are campaigning for a permanent solution that secures Mildmay's survival.
Even though treating patients at Mildmay actually costs less than NHS hospitals, and its highly skilled doctors, nurses and therapists are experts in specialist HIV care, sick patients are not being transferred from London’s NHS hospitals and are potentially blocking beds that are urgently needed by other patients.
The cost of keeping Mildmay open, around £5m a year, is a tiny fraction of the overall NHS budget, and the cost of treating HIV patients in other parts of the NHS are more expensive.
In 2020, doctors, patients, MPs and campaigners called on the Government to grant Mildmay enough funding for another year, while new sources of income could be found.
A (temporary) reprieve
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mildmay has been granted a temporary contract extension until the end of March 2022 and continues to play its part in helping to ease the burden on NHS hospitals.
Mildmay Hospital is now admitting both HIV and step-down homeless patients (on our Homeless Pathway, piloted in 2020).
This has given us the opportunity to treat people who are homeless or rough-sleeping as well as continuing to care for HIV patients as we have been doing for over 30 years.
We are still lobbying MPs and government ministers to persuade them that Mildmay’s unique services should be commissioned directly by NHS England like other specialist services already are, but time is running out.
Mildmay is a charity providing NHS services and not an NHS Trust. When we run out of money, we will simply have to close Mildmay Hospital.