The lead commissioners for mental health services in Lancashire welcome a report published this week which describes widespread problems with finding beds or receiving good home treatment. The report also points to the improvements that can be made and gives examples where people are being well cared for in good services.
The report comes from a new independent commission which was set up in January 2015 in response to widespread concerns about the provision of acute inpatient psychiatric beds in many parts of England and Northern Ireland. The commission is led by Lord Nigel Crisp and supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
It is estimated that around 500 mentally ill people every month have to travel an estimated 30 miles to be admitted to a hospital which is not close to home. The report recommends that this practice ends by October 2017.
NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the CCG responsible for leading on planning and securing a range of mental health services for patients across Lancashire.
Debbie Nixon, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said:
“As lead commissioners of mental health services in Lancashire, we work closely with our colleagues at Lancashire Care NHS Trust to ensure the services we commission are provided appropriately and safely.
“Our joint working has shown a significant decrease in the number of patients presenting acutely unwell to mental health services being treated out of the area. As always, our number one priority is to ensure our patients receive a positive experience of care where they are treated and cared for in a safe environment where they are protected from harm.”
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust provides inpatient and community mental health services for a population of around 1.4 million people covering the whole county.
Lisa Moorhouse, Adult Mental Health Network Director at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“The Trust has recently experienced an increased demand for inpatient mental health services and this reflects a national shortage of beds. Our number one priority has been to ensure that our patients receive the highest quality care when they need it and in some cases this has resulted in referring patients to beds outside of the Lancashire area to ensure they can receive the treatment they require. The Trust is working hard to create extra capacity and ensure that patients can be moved back into the Lancashire area as soon as possible when appropriate.
“We have recently developed a number of initiatives to help reduce the pressure on beds, such as the opening of a crisis support unit, the opening of a step down supported facility in Blackpool and the development of a community based Acute Therapy Service. In addition we have opened an assessment ward for men and are opening the female assessment ward later this month. These wards provide a high quality assessment of someone’s needs and allows us to consider ongoing treatment in the community rather than in a hospital bed.
“As a result of these initiatives, the number of people receiving treatment in a bed outside of Lancashire has dropped by 66%.”
The report can be viewed here.