Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, who has campaigned for better mental health support for the local emergency department at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital has warmly welcomed an announcement from the Prime Minister of extra investment in this area. Only last week Robin Walker received an update from the local clinical commissioning group on their work to improve mental health liaison at the WRH but he has continued to raise concerns that there should me more specialist provision of this sort. Today the Prime Minister has announced exactly that.
The Prime Minister’s speech today pledges a revolution in mental health treatment with new support for mental health treatment across the country. The PM has announced almost £1 billion of investment to enhance UK mental health services including £250 million for specialist support to A&E. Robin raised the need for this in his last major speech of 2015 when he spoke about mental health services in Worcester.
In a wide ranging speech talking about the importance of mental health and campaigning for valuable employment support services to be maintained, Robin gave an example of where a constituent had been denied treatment because of the absence of specialist care. This led to an emergency situation in which police and ambulances needed to be called out and the MP argued it was a false economy to cut back on such a service.
He and another MP, Helen Whately, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent are due to meet the Health Minister Alastair Burt to discuss the case for all emergency departments to have such support in the next few weeks but today’s announcement shows that the issue is already being addressed.
Commenting Robin said:
“It is absolutely right to be prioritising specialist support for mental health and I am delighted that the Government has acted so quickly after I raised this matter in Parliament. This Government is providing the NHS with the funding it needs to meet a wide range of challenges and mental health is undoubtedly high on that list. I know from constituents the great anguish which can be caused when proper treatment is not available in a timely manner and I hope that this investment, along with the broader decision to give mental health parity of esteem, will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in Worcester. I am glad that the local CCG had already taken action to improve coverage at our hospital, but I hope today’s announcement will help them to take things a step further.”
Notes to editors:
For full details of the Prime Minister’s speech today see:
For Robin’s full speech on mental health in December see:
Last week Robin received the following reply from the South Worcestershire CCG in response to a query about what was being done to improve mental health liaison in the area:
In terms of the Mental Health Liaison service there is another pilot that is now underway and is being funded by national money as part of our local Winter Plan.
The main basis of the new pilot has been to establish a Mental Health Assessment Hub on the Elgar unit site (which is at Worcester Royal Hospital). This Hub provides Mental Health clinicians who are on site overnight and available to assess any patients attending the A&E Department who are deemed to be moderate risk. Patients will then be assessed and either seen by the team themselves or referred to the Adult Mental Health Crisis team if a Mental Health Act assessment is required. Ambulances can convey people directly to the Elgar Unit site if they think that the patient is suitable. The additional staff to operate this service are currently in the process of being secured.
In addition we have been working to improve the out of hours capacity for the Children’s Mental Health service (CAMHS) and a CAMHS psychiatrist is going to be available on call through the new Hub being piloted. We are also supporting a Street Triage service which is in partnership with the Police and offers some enhanced support and access to a Mental Health professional in the Hindlip Hall control room between 4pm and 1am. The control room supports police services across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and the pilot is a collaboration between the NHS and Police services for both counties. The new service is designed to reduce conveyances and attendances at A&E for people who could be helped by other means. As I understand it they are currently out for recruitment before starting this in the next few weeks.