Insight into better mental health service

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A MAN who has suffered from mental health problems has told councillors how to improve care services around the county.

Members of the Health and Adult Social Care (HASC) Scrutiny Committee held a meeting last Thursday and heard from Derek Baker, from CAPITAL, a charity which promotes peer support and mental health service-user involvement,

Mr Baker said many problems with the care service could very easily be rectified, such as by providing these patients with the same care plans that are given to medical patients.

“All their friends and carers can’t do the work properly because they don’t have a care plan and it can be solved easily.”

He said the county’s talking therapy service could be improved by reducing the time people have to wait between leaving the service and seeing a professional.

“Time-to-Talk is a brilliant organisations but it’s limited in the time they can have people there because of the number of people that are waiting,” he said. I know two people came out of Time to Talk in January and they are still waiting to be referred and that’s wrong.”

He said that simple things such as ensuring patients get a call back, would improve mental wellbeing.

“When you contact someone and they say they will respond, they don’t, and it leaves us with the thought ‘are we important enough?’

“It’s like a lifeline. You expect someone to ring you back and when you don’t get it, it does knock you back.”

“In A&E you tend to get greeted with a grunt. They haven’t got time or resources to sit and spend time talking to us.”

The members concluded areas to be addressed included; keeping patients informed of care plans, speeding up access to services, ensuring call-backs and specialist nurses in A&E.

The committee also heard an update on the Proactive Care project - the model of care which is given through integrated teams of NHS and social care professionals and GP’s to improve care services for the frail and elderly.

Nine multidisciplinary teams have been set in the county.

A risk stratification tool is used to decipher which patients are at a high risk of being administered to hospital.

These lists are given to GPs who decide which of their patients should be treated through pro-active care.

Members said more needed to be done to increase public awareness of the different care services available and the contact details for each.