Mental health changes plan

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A SHAKE-UP of community mental health services in Sheffield is set to be introduced by bosses as they work to cope with a 10 per cent cut in funding over the next three years.

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust is consulting with people who use the Community Mental Health Teams in the city.

But they have been criticised for the short notice given to people of meetings organised.

Meetings took place yesterday and Monday, with another planned for today but people only received letters informing them last Friday or Saturday.

The proposals centre on the creation of four separate Community Mental Health Treatment teams in the south east, south west, north and west of the city.

These would replace the eight community mental health teams that work in the city.

The Sheffield Out Reach Team – for people with complex care needs – is also set to be reduced from dealing with around 160 people to around 100 in 18 to 24 months’ time.

Health chiefs hope the four teams will provide greater continuity of care, which can be delivered where people need it.

Staff would also work later with a centralised out-of-hours team in place to take over once the teams finish at 8.30pm.

Bosses have pledged there will be no redundancies as a result of the reconfiguration but have suggested a reduction of around 15 members of the teams as a result.

Sean Colliver, aged 50, a service user from Lower Shiregreen, said: “It will provide better continuity of care, more focused in the area where it is needed”

Jane Barrell, 54, who is supported by the Hillsborough team to help her manage her schizophrenia, said: “Nobody likes change, but the in the bigger picture it is going to happen.

“If they localise the service, it will be able to come to your home and that will make it a lot less intimidating for the patient.”

Sue Sibbald, 48, of Norfolk Park, who lives with borderline personality disorder, said: “My worry is that there is nothing for me now, there will still be nothing for me and if there are less staff, there might be less for others.”

Douglas Macdonald, whose son uses mental health services in the city, slammed the consultation exercise – criticising the short time frame given.

Clive Clarke, executive director at the trust, said: “We need to make our services as efficient and effective as possible in a time of reducing resources.

“The trust does have to make cost savings and there will be some reduction in the overall numbers of staffing, but until the consultation period has been completed, we cannot be more specific. There will be no redundancies.

“As we are reorganising services rather than ceasing provision of them, we are not required to conduct a three-month public consultation and therefore we are currently holding a one-month external consultation.”

He said staff talks would be held after the consultation before any changes are made

n Visit www.shsc.nhs.uk/about-us/consultations to read more.