Carers are "over the moon" after discovering commissioners have scrapped plans to make a Sidcup mental health facility exclusively for older people.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust had planned to develop the Woodlands Unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital into a specialist service for patients over retirement age.

However now the trust has made a u-turn after talking to patients and carers, and is keeping the inpatient facility for adults aged between 18 and 65.

Carers told News Shopper in May they thought Queen Mary’s Hospital’s proposals were "disgusting" and started a campaign, gathering hundreds of signatures against the plan.

They were concerned the working-age patients would be transferred to units which would be too far for carers to travel to.

Campaigner Helen Wilkinson, of Manor Road, Crayford, has now thanked News Shopper for publicising the proposals earlier this year.

The 53-year-old carer said: "We have won our battle to keep the unit open and prevent it being changed.

"We are over the moon about it. 

"We’d like to thank News Shopper, we could not have done it without the publicity and all the people who signed our petition - around 200 altogether. 

"We’re also grateful to Oxleas and the commissioner for hearing our views."

She had worked with carers such as Ray Harlen, 54, of Austen Road, Erith, and Anne Gardner, 73, of Abbots Walk, to persuade Oxleas the unit should remain for patients aged between 18 and 65.

An Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman told News Shopper: "Woodlands was always intended to remain a mental health unit, the aim was to create a centre of excellence for the mental health care of older people and create smoother pathways from our two local A&Es, straight to the local units in Bromley and Greenwich.

"However, having listened carefully to the concerns of patients, families, our staff and Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group that working age adult patients would need to travel to Green Parks House and Oxleas House, we have decided not to proceed at this time and are looking at other ways to address the above issues."