Mental health care ‘must improve’

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MENTAL health services in the area need to improve, according to the Shaping Health for Mid Kesteven Board.

Allan Kitt is chief operating officer of the South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is leading a review into the services as part of the shaping health programme.

He said: “We want to improve safety and quality. The service is not where we wanted it to be.”

While conducting the review, the CCG received feedback which highlighted problems.

Mr Kitt said: “The message was that the services are unjoined. People often say they are passed from one team to another - there are too many small teams around the county.”

Another issue raised was the amount of people being treated in hospital.

He said: “We still have patients in four-bedded bays, in mental health that’s not good enough. It’s come through very clearly there isn’t enough home treatment.”

Out-of-hours support was also a concern to the CCG.

Mr Kitt said: “People having crises at 10pm at night find it difficult to get help unless it’s an emergency.”

There is a growing number of people suffering from dementia and many mental health patients are currently being sent outside of the county for treatment.

He said: “We need high risk patients to be treated in Lincolnshire.”

Grantham lost one of its mental health facilities when the Sycamore Unit was temporarily closed on an emergency basis by the Care Quality Commission after a number of incidents.

Mr Kitt said: “It was not deemed to be safe for acutely ill people. They are at acute risk of harming themselves or others. It is an unsuitable building.”

Mr Kitt said he did not think the unit, a former children’s home, was suitable for refurbishment but it cannot be closed permanently without a public consultation.

The CCG is hoping to have carried out the service review by October.

Mr Kitt added: “The long term options are not clear. There will be change required.

“There will be tough choices to make on how to deliver the quality and safety. It really needs to improve.”