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Views sought on mental health

PUBLISHED: 21:15 22 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

A PUBLIC consultation has started this week into the future of mental health care in the county.

Everyone involved with mental health issues is being encouraged to have their say over the new plans which aim to prevent inappropriate admissions to St Clement's Hospital and put more social care and community services in place.

A PUBLIC consultation has started this week into the future of mental health care in the county.

Everyone involved with mental health issues is being encouraged to have their say over the new plans which aim to prevent inappropriate admissions to St Clement's Hospital and put more social care and community services in place.

Martin Royal, Director of Strategy for Suffolk's mental health partnership said that several options are available, but the option that the partnership wants to pursue is to close some wards and use the resources to provide better community services such as outreach teams and crisis teams that can work with people in their own homes.

Mr Royal said that many people in wards such as Brightwell, Sutton and Priory have been assessed and do not actually need hospital care - other arrangements have already been made for patients on some of these wards and some beds are already being closed down.

Much of the accommodation on the St Clements site is also no longer appropriate for the care needed and does not meet the standards required by the Department of Health.

But Mr Royal admitted resources are scarce in the county and that more funding is needed from the Primary Care Trust to be able to meet the demands for community care.

He said that the changes have to be made to improve care and to meet patients' demands.

And he also admitted that there was a shortage of care homes in the county for people with specialist needs such as dementia, challenging behaviour or brain damage and that needed to be tackled.

Although some wards will be closing, Mr Royal dismissed rumours that the hospital would be closing completely. He said that inpatient wards would still be available and a £25million proposal to build new provisions is already under consideration.

Community services being put in place include crisis teams who can help people in their own homes by, for example, intervening when a patient is taken to accident and emergency having a psychotic episode such as a bad panic attack or feeling suicidal.

The episode can be over in a couple of days so the crisis team can put in home services instead of the patient ending up in hospital for several weeks like they would now.

A 72 hour assessment unit has also already been put in place at St Clements for people having crises like these to stay for a few days while a care package is organised.

It is also hoped in time to create a 24/ seven on call service and integrate day hospital and community staff to offer a range of treatments and interventions as well as develop better psychology based therapies in the community along with dementia services and memory clinics.

The consultation ends on May 28 and the partnership wants to have everyone's views as to what care needs to be provided.

n. Documents are available in public libraries and on the website - www.lhp.nhs.uk.

Comments can be sent to Mr R Bolas, Acting Chief Executive, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Suffolk House, Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP3 8NN or email Carol Johnson the Patient and Public Involvement Manager at carol.Johnson@lhp.nhs.uk .

When forwarding views please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.

To further explain the plans and answer any questions directly the Trust will be holding two public consultation meetings on April 27 at 10am and on May 4 at 2pm both at Suffolk House on the St Clement's Hospital site, Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

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