Green light for new mental health services

18 January 2019

Plans to improve the care of more than 7,000 people who need support every year with serious, long-term mental health problems have received the green light. The enhanced community services will include a new dementia outreach service and 24/7 crisis care, alongside modern inpatient facilities for those that require hospital care.

Dr Ian Hulme, speaking on behalf of the NHS clinical commissioning groups in Eastern Cheshire, South Cheshire and Vale Royal, said: “As a local GP I am delighted that local people will now be able to access much better support for their mental health.

“Last week the NHS published its Long Term Plan for how care should look in the future which included more focus on prevention, providing support in a crisis, and a much better range of community support. We are delighted that our local plans reflect that ambition and, while we realise there is still a lot more to do to improve mental health care, we are confident our new model of care is a huge step in the right direction.”

Dr Anushta Sivananthan, medical director at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We are extremely grateful to our service users and carers, mental health forums, Healthwatch, other local community groups, our staff and the public who have all contributed to the new model of care. As a consultant psychiatrist I am passionate about getting the right care for my patients – at the right time and in the right place. This new model of care sets the foundation to do that and has been brought about by collaborative working across the NHS, social care and with patients and the public.”

The new care model will provide the following:

  • Improved community mental health teams, with 30 more staff
  • Improved crisis home treatment teams, with eight more staff
  • A new dementia outreach service to support people in their homes and care homes
  • 26 specialist inpatient beds at Lime Walk House in Macclesfield for adults and older people with serious mental ill health (plus four complex/intensive care beds in Chester and an extra three beds in Wirral)
  • 15 specialist inpatient beds in Macclesfield for people with dementia (based on the Macclesfield District General Hospital site);
  • six community-based crisis beds, in locations to be determined in partnership with service users;
  • 13 rehabilitation beds in Chester.

The inpatient beds currently situated within the Millbrook Unit on the Macclesfield Hospital site will be re-provided and replaced by 47 local beds designed to the latest modern standards, meeting privacy and dignity requirements set out by the Care Quality Commission.

Together with the enhanced local community support, a further seven beds for people with very complex needs – bringing the total re-provided beds to 54 – will be provided in Chester and Wirral. This approach is in line with current arrangements, where people requiring a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) receive their care in Chester or Wirral.

The revised proposal, called Option 2 Plus, was given final approval following an additional one month consultation on the move of rehabilitation patients (13 beds) from Lime Walk House in Macclesfield to Bowmere Hospital in Chester.

The outcome of the additional public consultation was reported to the Cheshire East Council Health, Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 17 January. The scrutiny committee confirmed due process had been followed throughout this consultation and the previous three-month consultation – and welcomed the new model of care.

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