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EDP: Mental health crisis hub delayed by a year as patients continue to be sent hundreds of miles for treatment

Geraldine Scott of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

A crisis hub pegged to help stem the number of mental health patients sent miles away due to a lack of beds has been delayed by a year in part due to debates over the building it will be in.

A wellbeing hub – also known as a crisis cafe – was first proposed in April 2017 after a £58,000 review found the region’s mental health trust, the failing Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), did not need any more beds if wellbeing hubs could support people in the community.

Initially it was planned the first one would open in Norwich later in 2017 but nearly two years after the plans were first announced, it could still be more than 12 months before doors are opened .

An update presented to the Joint Strategic Commissioning Committee of the CCGs on Tuesday revealed Churchman House, in Bethal Street, Norwich, was identified as the base for the first hub in October 2017.

But since then “a number of issues have arisen” and CCGs had appointed solicitors to act on their behalf, while property consultants Bidwells was still discussing the lease with Norwich City Council, which owns the building.

Meanwhile, it was revealed dozens of people were still being sent to hospitals at least 200km (124 miles) away – and five at least 300km (186 miles) away – over a three-month period last year. Between September 1 and November 30, there were 2,970 inappropriate bed days outside the NSFT’s boundaries – treatment that should have been available locally – with placements costing £1.27m in total.

Documents presented to the committee said it would take a year for the building to be brought up to scratch. However this was a “worst case scenario” and evening support could be opened by December 2020 and day time provision by April 202

The cuts café project is part of the fixed, flawed farce of the so-called Beds Review.

We wrote to the Norfolk STP expressing our and the voluntary sector’s deep concerns about the cuts café project back in November 2017.

Lack of beds costing ‘£500,000 a month’

Documents put before the committee on Tuesday also showed it had not yet been decided who would run the service, which would act as a cafe during the day for those who are socially isolated or need support, and in the evening would offer a safe environment for those with mental ill-health and mental distress.

But a spokesman from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said money would be better spent on improving existing services.

He said: “The café proposal is part of a flawed and futile attempt to avoid addressing the real issues in mental health services – inadequate funding and poor commissioning of community services, crisis services and inpatient beds. Lack of mental health beds is currently costing the NHS more than £500,000 every month and cups of tea in a white elephant cuts café is not going to solve the problem.”

Who was the head of the Norfolk STP and the Chief Officer of the lead commissioner of mental health services in Norfolk & Waveney who championed this deeply flawed, improper, wasteful and delayed building project rather than concentrating on the delivery of real mental health services?

A certain Antek Lejk.

Click on the image below to read the article in full on the EDP website:

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