A health scrutiny committee has complained to the health secretary after a mental health ward was closed despite its objections.

A health scrutiny committee has complained to the health secretary after a mental health ward was closed despite its objections.

In May, Hertfordshire's health scrutiny committee referred planned changes to mental health and learning disability changes to Patricia Hewitt.

There was concern that the 5 per cent cuts Hertfordshire Partnership trust was planning ? under pressure from primary care trusts - would affect patients.

But although the closure of St Julian's ward in St Albans was one of the key parts of this plan, it has gone ahead.

Scrutiny committee chair Michael Downing said: 'We understood that this should not happen until the position was resolved. We are writing again to the health secretary to say what we feel.'

The trust says it had made interim changes to prepare for a ward closure, which included reducing the number of patients and staff. It then made the decision to close the ward because the ability to provide a safe and therapeutic environment had been affected.

The trust plans to cut spending on areas including community mental health teams and early intervention in psychosis.