Fresh hope has been sparked that ministers could intervene to save a national psychiatry service, a month after commissioners decided to close it.

MPs campaigning to keep the Henderson Hospital open revealed that mental health minister Ivan Lewis had said they had a "powerful case" at a meeting last week.

South West London and St George's Mental Health trust decided to close the hospital in Sutton last December because referrals had fallen and the trust could not afford to keep it running (for more background, click here).

Liberal Democrat MPs Paul Burstow and Tom Brake last week led a team of clinicians from the hospital to see Mr Lewis and the national director for mental health Louis Appleby.

The MPs argued that a move to national commissioning for specialist services such as this was vital.

Mr Burstow said: "What is required now is action by the DH to save what is a national service from closure."

HSJ's Mental Health Act 2007 conference is on 24 January, www.hsj-mentalhealthact.co.uk