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Mental health services set to be transformed

Mental health services set to be transformed
28 November 2018

The local NHS has approved plans to transform care for people who experience severe mental ill health. The decision will pave the way for greatly enhanced community services including a dementia outreach service, 24/7 crisis service and crisis care beds.

Dr Paul Bowen, our clinical chair and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton comments: “These enhanced community services focus on early intervention and prevention in order to support people with severe mental health problems to lead fulfilling lives in their communities.”

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.

Of the 47 beds there will be:

  • 26 beds for adults and older people in Lime Walk House, Macclesfield;
  • 15 beds for people with dementia in the former Complex Assessment and Recovery Services (CARS) ward, Macclesfield; and
  • six local crisis beds.

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 receive their care in Chester or Wirral.

The revised proposal, called Option 2 Plus, was approved on Thursday (22 November) at a joint meeting of our governing body and the governing bodies of NHS South Cheshire CCG and NHS Vale Royal CCG. This option responds to many of the concerns raised during a 12-week public consultation by retaining the majority of inpatient beds in Eastern Cheshire while still introducing all of the new community services.

The new care model, as described in the pre-consultation business case and consultation material, was supported by service users, carers and members of the public during the consultation that ran from March to May 2018.

The joint meeting of the governing bodies was chaired by Dr Bowen. Speaking after the meeting, he said: “The new care model will provide a much wider range of choice to meet people’s changing needs. It will offer better support in people’s homes and communities, recognising that 95 per cent of the 7,000 local people across Eastern Cheshire, South Cheshire and Vale Royal with severe mental health problems already access care in the community.

“People told us during the consultation that they wanted to ‘thrive not just survive’ and an over-reliance on hospital care makes it difficult for people to lead fulfilling lives. High-quality hospital care will still be available for the people who need it - with most inpatient beds staying locally.”

Under Option 2 Plus, 13 rehabilitation beds will relocate to Bowmere Hospital in Chester instead of the Soss Moss facility, Nether Alderley as was proposed and consulted upon. The rehabilitation beds are currently situated in Lime Walk House. Engagement with service users and carers has indicated they would prefer to move to Bowmere Hospital in Chester, which is a modern facility close to the city centre, than the Soss Moss site which is isolated and would have required substantial refurbishment to bring it up to standard.

Following a recommendation from the Cheshire East Council Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 22 November 2018, the consulting bodies have committed to:

  • undertake a further consultation until 21 December 2018 on the additional elements of Option 2 Plus that were not covered as part of the original 12-week consultation process;
  • consider the feedback that arises from the additional consultation; and
  • following consideration, any subsequent amendments agreed by the consulting partners will be reflected within Option 2 Plus and progressed to implementation.

Further detail on how to take part in the conversation during this additional period of consultation will be published on our website.

Dr Bowen added: “We are grateful to the thousands of service users and carers who engaged with us during the public consultation and for the positive reaction to Option 2 Plus received from the local mental health forums, local health scrutiny committee and Healthwatch. Thank you also to all local health and social care partners who have supported the process and who have been integral to developing the amended option.”

Click here for detailed information on Option 2 Plus, and make comments by emailing or calling 01625 663477.