The NHS is reminding people that it is their last chance to respond to the public consultation on plans to improve care for people experiencing a mental health crisis. The deadline is on 26 October.
The NHS launched a three-month consultation in July following a comprehensive review of local services by NHS Kent and Medway, which plans and buys mental health services, and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Partnership Trust (KMPT), which provides crisis care for people at home and in hospital.
Last Thursday (18 October) in Thanet, around 30 people attended a public roadshow at the Global Generation Church and had the opportunity to ask questions about the consultation.
At a table discussion, one local carer said it was difficult to find out if concerns had been acted on by health professionals because of patient confidentially regulations.
David Tamsitt, KMPT Director of Acute Services, said: “We recognise that this is a problem and we are looking at improving the communications between patient, carer and health professionals to see if there is a better way we can keep people informed without breaching confidentiality.”
During the question and answer session, many welcomed the idea of crisis lounges. These would offer a few hours of respite to patients needing close support without having to go to hospital.
In Sheerness on Friday (19 October), around 20 people attended Sheppey Healthy Living Centre for the last of the eight public roadshows.
A carer of a woman who has used mental health services for the past 16 years said: “It is sad there are no beds on the island, but what is really vital is the aftercare people receive.”
David Tamsitt said: "We understand that support at home is very important for patients, carers and families. We want to make sure that our Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment (CRHT) teams are able to give the support needed so people can be treated at home."
Both the full consultation document and a summary can be read at www.kmpt.nhs.uk/acute-mental-health-review. People can fill in the survey online: http://www.kmpt.nhs.uk/adultacuteconsultation or for a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 085 6606 or 01227 791281.
Most people who become suddenly and seriously mentally ill prefer to be treated at home, supported by friends and family, and this has been shown to result in a quicker recovery. However others, who cannot be safely looked after at home, need to be treated in specialist hospital units.
The review found there are not enough hospital beds in east Kent, unsuitable inpatient services in Medway and that better psychiatric intensive outreach services are needed in east Kent.
The NHS wants to hear the public’s view on plans to treat people in three centres of excellence in Dartford, Maidstone and Canterbury. These will offer state-of-the art accommodation, with single en suite rooms, access to outdoor space and improved access to consultant psychiatrists, nursing and therapy teams.
The NHS plans to:
increase the number of beds in east Kent, by converting the current Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in Canterbury
expand the psychiatric intensive care outreach service, a specialist team which supports ward staff to cover the whole of Kent and Medway
consolidate the psychiatric intensive care beds into one unit in Dartford
invest £297,000 a year in additional Crisis Resolution Home Treatment (CRHT) staff from April 2013 to enable more patients to be treated at home.
This will mean ‘A Block’ at Medway Maritime Hospital, which is not suitable for crisis care, would no longer provide acute mental health hospital care.
People from Medway, Sittingbourne and Sheppey who need admission to hospital would be treated in one of the three centres of excellence instead.
People in Medway would access the centre in Dartford. However the NHS is consulting on three options for people in Sittingbourne and Sheppey at either Maidstone, Dartford or Canterbury, and two options for Swanley patients – either Dartford or Maidstone.
Dr Rosarii Harte, Assistant Medical Director for KMPT, said: "Most people prefer and are able to be treated at home and this is by far the best option for many people. However when home treatment is not the best option – usually because there is a real risk to the patient or a lack of family support – access to high quality care on an inpatient unit is essential.”
Lauretta Kavanagh, Director of Commissioning of Mental Health and Substance Misuse Services for NHS Kent and Medway, said: "Research shows that for this group of seriously unwell people to get the best possible care, the environment and the staff are vitally important. There need to be enough highly trained, expert, staff to provide a safe, flexible, resilient service with a full range of therapeutic interventions as well as modern, purpose-built accommodation that is comfortable, relaxed, safe and secure and preserves people’s dignity and respect.
"We have drawn up our plans after speaking to service users, carers, mental health professionals, GPs and other interested parties. We want to know what you think of these proposals and the options for people from Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Swanley – as well as if there is anything else we should consider.
"Your views could help us make the best decisions about future services and care for people in a mental health crisis who need urgent treatment. To make sure you have your chance to influence this debate and help us to make the right decisions over these vital services, please take 10 minutes to read our information and respond to the consultation."
Here is a short film on our YouTube channel which explains what the proposals are and why they are needed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PNHI91ovVs
The closing date for responses is 26 October 2012.
23 October 2012