Changes to mental health services in East Sussex have been given the green light by East Sussex County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (16 Sept 2010), paving the way for a programme of improvements in community mental health services.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, together with the two East Sussex Primary Care Trusts, NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, welcome this milestone - the final step in the decision-making and planning process which endorses the decisions on changes to improve mental health services taken by the NHS in July 2010.
The changes are part of the Sussex Partnership’s strategic programme ‘Better by Design’ programme which aims to provide excellent mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services for the people of Sussex within the current climate of public sector spending restraint. This includes reductions in inpatient beds.
Dr Tim Ojo, Executive Medical Director at Sussex Partnership, said:
“These changes are the right thing to do based on good clinical practice and on what people tell us they want from local services. They will enable us to develop a modern mental health service across Sussex.
“We will continue to work with people who use our services, their carers and our partners in the NHS and social services on the details and implementation of the new services.”
“Before the bed reductions take place, Sussex Partnership will change the way we provide our adult community mental health services,” Dr Ojo explained.
“Inpatient services will not be affected until we have significantly upgraded services in the community. This is clinically right and these changes have emerged from listening to the people who use our services, commissioners and staff.
"They will include new services, better access, more consistent support for people over 65 and more choice for people to plan and get treatment personal to them which meets their needs:”
Martin Packwood, Mental Health Commissioning Manager for NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, added:
“The changes we are planning will enable even more people to stay well, as well as cope successfully with relapses, without needing to go into hospital.”
“People who use mental health services say that they want to receive more treatment and care at home, and in the community if possible, rather than in hospital beds.
“Clinicians (doctors, nurses and other health professionals) also believe that providing more and better mental health services outside of hospital helps people to recover quicker and stay healthier.
“Community mental health services have benefited from significant investment in recent years and are continuing to develop.”
• More mental health professionals working alongside GPs in their surgeries to give advice and support, and to fast-track people to specialist mental health services when they need it
• Longer opening hours for community mental health services to provide more convenient care and support to people close to their homes
• Improve the support to people who are experiencing a crisis in their mental health. This will reduce the need for people to be admitted to hospital.
Alongside these developments, Sussex Partnership is working with patients, staff and commissioners on new standards to measure the quality and performance of its services.
This will help everyone to be clear about the treatment people can expect and demonstrate how the changes will make a difference to mental health care in Sussex.
Now that the East Sussex HOSC have approved the changes, Sussex Partnership and NHS commissioners will agree the detailed timetable with service user and carer groups, staff and GP representatives.
Changes to Sussex Partnership inpatient services in East Sussex (from April 2011):
• Twenty beds will close at the Department of Psychiatry, Eastbourne
• Woodlands Centre for Acute Care at Hastings (which re-opened on 20 July 2010) will continue to provide its current level of service.