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HealthEast to decide changes to mental health services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney
23/09/2014

HealthEast's Governing Body is being asked to agree recommendations which would see three centres of excellence for mental health services being developed on two sites in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

The recommendations, which will be heard at its public meeting on Thursday, 25 September, will include the Governing Body being asked to approve the development of a centre for acute mental health services at Northgate Hospital, and centres for older people with mental health issues and young people’s mental health services at Carlton Court.

The recommendations are the result of an extensive public consultation earlier this year on three proposals developed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). The proposals were designed to drive improvements by providing the most appropriate services to meet each patient’s needs, delivered locally – wherever possible – in people’s own homes by a team of health and social care professionals working closely together and with the voluntary sector.

The proposals are: 
 
1. Acute mental health services at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.
2. Older people with mental health issues at Carlton Court in Lowestoft.
3. Young people’s mental health services also based at Carlton Court in Lowestoft.

The recommendations have been developed following an extensive public consultation earlier this year on three proposals developed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). The proposals were designed to drive improvements by providing the most appropriate services to meet each patient’s needs, delivered locally – wherever possible – in people’s own homes by a team of health and social care professionals working closely together and with the voluntary sector.

Adult acute mental health services
• Consolidate all inpatient services at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, thereby reducing the number of adult mental health beds from 28 to 20. HealthEast believes this to be sufficient for the needs of Great Yarmouth and Waveney residents, particularly in the light of the improvements in community support. This will include one staffed Section 136 suite as part of this new build, fully incorporated into the ward.

• Further develop the crisis resolution and home treatment teams to provide services across the whole of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area.

Older people's mental health services
• Re-open up to 10 beds on Laurel Ward at Carlton Court in Lowestoft for older people with conditions such as bi-polar, depression and schizophrenia until services to support these patients in the community have been fully developed.

Dementia
• Permanently close 12 dementia beds on Larkspur Ward in Carlton Court, Lowestoft and continue to use up to six beds in local nursing homes for patients who need extra support in a more 'home-like' environment. This model has been chosen because experts are very clear that the best care for patients with dementia is at home.

• Develop the Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) - HealthEast will be looking to commission an extension to this team to provide a 24/7 service, working closely with the new out of hospital teams in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

• Continue to provide specialist assessment for patients with dementia in Norwich, with on-going support provided locally in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. NSFT will support patients and carers with travel costs where needed. These beds are currently in Blickling Ward but NSFT is planning to move these to Beach Ward in Hammerton Court, Norwich offering a state-of-the-art environment for patients.

Information and Resource Centres
• Develop information and resource centres for people and their families with dementia and mental health problems, including a dementia café, working with patients, carers and voluntary groups. We are exploring setting these up in Carlton Court, Northgate and Kirkley Mill in Lowestoft.

NSFT is also working with the central Norfolk CCGs to provide ten additional assessment beds in Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich. It is anticipated that the introduction of these beds in November will ease pressure on beds in central Norfolk, so the 20 beds in Great Yarmouth and Waveney will be used by service users in that area.

Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This has been a long and difficult process. However, the seriousness of the decision and the impact of changes being considered to how we deliver our services, made it important for us to engage fully with service users, carers and our staff.

"I would like to thank them for their contribution to the consultation and for their patience and understanding while our trust and HealthEast have considered the feedback from the public consultation process.

"This has enabled us to ensure the services we provide in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are the best for service users. While changes are implemented, we will support any affected staff to find suitable alternative career opportunities within the new teams."

Andy Evans, chief executive of HealthEast, said: "The recommendation will provide the best possible mental health and dementia services for local people over the coming years. HealthEast is proposing no budget cuts as part of these proposals.

"We have listened to the public, patients, stakeholders, the public and local clinicians. We have made real changes to the proposals as a result, such as planning to create three local centres of excellence - acute mental health services at Northgate, older people with mental health issues at Carlton Court and young people's mental health services at Carlton Court. We are grateful to Bob Blizzard and the NSFT Crisis Campaign for their contributions to the debate, and we've taken their comments on board.

"For example, Bob's passionate campaign around Carlton Court helped persuade us of the importance of creating two local centres of excellence there for older people and young people with mental health needs, continuing its role as a vibrant, up to the minute centre for mental health care. We would also like to thank our two MPs, Peter Aldous and Brandon Lewis, for the way that they have supported us throughout the process to address this vital area of care and bring better services to the local population.

"Consolidating acute services on one site will bring significant benefits in terms of quality of care and safety for patients. Having all the acute services on one site will be a major step forward. This continues to build on our plans to bring different services for patients together so patients experience better, 'joined-up' care.

"We are very pleased to have also clarified our strategy for dementia which is that dementia patients are best treated in their own homes and we are expanding our services to provide support around the clock for dementia patients and their carers.

"We also recognise that for elderly people with complex mental health issues we have to open more beds locally and we are pleased to be able to do this."

Dr John Stammers, chair of HealthEast and a practicing GP, said: "We are confident that 20 beds is the right number for acute mental health care for our residents. We are one NHS, and we will continue to work closely with our colleague CCGs, NSFT and the local health scrutiny committee to make sure that the need to transfer any patient out of the area is a rarity. We are very encouraged by recent announcements at the Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee on 4 September that NSFT plans to open beds in Norwich for patients in central Norfolk and support our ability to focus care in Great Yarmouth and Waveney on Great Yarmouth and Waveney patients.

"We are confident that we have followed a robust decision process to arrive at these recommendations. We will continue to monitor the implementation of these proposals very carefully with NSFT, local clinicians, staff, patient representatives and GP practices to make sure that patients remain safe, that the quality of services is good, and that staff are fully engaged as we drive forward these improvements."

Patients, carers and the public are welcome to attend the meeting, which takes place at HealthEast’s headquarters at Beccles House, Common Lane North, Beccles, at 1.30pm.

Agenda papers are available here
It will be followed later the same day by the CCG’s AGM, which will run from 6pm to 7.30pm in meeting room 3 at Beccles House.