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NHS Lanarkshire approves multi-million pound mental health improvements

Written by Calvin Brown.
Published at 14:59 GMT on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013.

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A multi-million-pound package of improvements to continue the modernisation of mental health services was approved today (Wednesday 26 June 2013) by the NHS Lanarkshire Board.

The plans include enhanced community mental health services across Lanarkshire, a new Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (IPCU) at Wishaw General Hospital, and the ongoing provision of acute mental health beds at all three acute hospital sites in Lanarkshire.

A new 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, Lanarkshire-wide assessment and liaison service is also planned for patients arriving at any of the three acute hospitals with mental health problems and in crisis.

Colin Sloey, Director of North Lanarkshire Community Health Partnership and NHS Lanarkshire executive lead for mental health, said: “These plans continue a journey that has already seen us transform mental health services across Lanarkshire to provide modern, quality care that is centred on the needs of patients.

“For the first time, we will be able to offer people a high-quality Intensive Psychiatry Care Unit in Lanarkshire, while enhanced community services will support people with the most effective and appropriate care.”

Dr Alastair Cook, Associate Medical Director – Mental Health and Learning Disability, said: “There is clear agreement between service users, carers, voluntary sector, local authority and mental health staff that delivering as much care as possible in community settings provides the best care and outcomes for people. 

“Service users have consistently told us they prefer home-based or community-based care to being admitted to an acute hospital. These new proposals will deliver this by providing people with fast access to evidence-based treatments.

“Acute inpatient care will be available where it is deemed necessary, but new community service provision will mean people will need to be admitted less frequently and be able to return home sooner.”

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Investment to fund the new community and IPCU developments will be supported by reducing the number of acute adult mental health assessment beds at Wishaw General and Monklands hospitals to better match existing demand. Enhanced community services will be available in advance of changes to inpatient services. 

Funding released from the changes to mental health inpatient services will be reinvested in improving mental health services with the Health Board approving additional recurring funding of £415,000 to provide the full package of improvements. 

Substantial additional investment will be made over the next two years on capital works to improve acute inpatient facilities for people with mental health problems. 

Stakeholder engagement has taken place throughout the development of the proposals including the involvement of the mental health user and carer group Lanarkshire Links.

The engagement process has been reviewed by the Scottish Health Council to ensure it complied with the guidance in CEL 4 Informing, Engaging and Consulting People in Developing Health and Community Care Services.

Francis Fallan MBE, Chair of Lanarkshire Links, said: “We welcome these proposals and the contribution they will make to the ongoing modernisation of mental health services in Lanarkshire. 

“The consultation work we have carried out with service users and carers has demonstrated that they want more community-based and home-based care as an alternative to hospital admission.

“It is important that improved community services are in place first, so they are available when people need them. We look forward to continuing the strong partnership working we have with NHS Lanarkshire to ensure this is the case and that we have the right services to meet people’s needs.”

Full details of the plans, including the Acute Adult Mental Health Redesign Board paper, are available from the NH S Lanarkshire website at .

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