A national service for people with severe personality disorders is to close. South West London and St George’s Mental Health trust is ‘temporarily’ closing Henderson Hospital in Surrey next Wednesday due to insufficient referrals and income.

The hospital, to which 120 primary care trusts can make referrals, has been earmarked for closure since last year, sparking fears that specialist mental health services across England were also at risk.

Mental health campaigners have argued that specialist services should be commissioned nationally rather than by PCTs, as they lack the national focus required.

A final decision on permanent closure will be taken after a 30-day staff consultation. A spokeswoman for the trust denied that the service had been deliberately run down. She said: “This decision to temporarily close was taken by the ‘community’… not by the management of the trust.”