Mental health services upheaval in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield

Most of the news about the proposed NHS changes in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield has focussed on proposals to close and reduce acute and emergency hospital services, and replace them with cheaper integrated health and social care in the community.

Little public or media attention has been given to proposed changes to mental health services, even though the mental health trust, South West Yorkshire Foundation Partnership Trust (SWYFPT),  is one of the three NHS providers that are involved in the proposed NHS and social care reconfiguration, known as “Right Care Right Time Right Place”.

SWYFPT’s website gives the impression that SWYFPT’s transformation plans are already well underway, and says they are in line with the Strategic Review/ Strategic Outline Case (SOC) proposals for the Right Care Right Time Right Place reconfiguration.

But there is no mention that the SOC proposals are subject to further public and staff “engagement” which runs until June 2014, or that they still have to be developed into a Business Outline Case, or that the Clinical Commissioning Groups who buy SWYFPT’s services are under a legal obligation to carry out a formal public consultation if and when the Clinical Commissioning Groups accept the Business Outline Case.

Massive shortage of beds for mental health patients

Plain Speaker has been told that SWYFPT has already made major changes to mental health services, including a ward closure. There is now a massive shortage of beds for mental health patients in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield. Our source said,

“General people who work and use mental health services have already faced major changes, services closed, changed, one ward closed leading to a massive shortage of beds. There are often no beds available in the psychiatric unit here, and patients have been sent to Wakefield, Barnsley, and to private hospitals as far away as London, Darlington, Manchester and many more. You can imagine, a person in mental distress sent far from home to services who don’t know you, far away from your professional support, family and friends who know you well. And god help families etc who don’t drive, leaving families in distress and having a detrimental affect on the individual’s recovery. I could go on!! They did try and close the local [Calderdale] psychiatric unit and place everyone in Kirklees, a few years ago,  but after an anonymous tip to the press, plans were hastily denied.”

This problem is not unique to Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield. The BBC reports that many mental health trusts across the country are suffering from funding cuts, and cannot provide adequate support for mental health patients.

New RAID teams start work in both Calderdale and Huddersfield A&Es

On 1st April 2014, SWYFPT and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT)  introduced 24/7 Rapid Assessment Interface and Discharge (RAID) teams in both Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E departments.

Rather off-puttingly, RAID sounds more like an insecticide than a mental health support team.

The RAID teams aim to quickly discharge mental health patients from A&E, Medical Assessment Units and inpatient treatment, into services in the community.

According to information given to Plain Speaker, setting up these teams has cost approximately £2 million. Our source said,

“One team is based in each A&E department, they are staffed by mental health practitioners who will assess people who attend AE in crisis such as overdoses, confusion in Seniors etc. The aim of the team is to move people on ASAP to the appropriate services which are predominately in the community (what a surprise!).

What interests me is why set up two teams when the [Strategic Outline Case] proposal is for one acute A&E? What do they propose to do with the staff of the team attached to the AE they close? Was not this poor planning? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to wait before spending all that money until they knew what was happening?”

Information on the SWYFPT website says that RAID teams, which are “mental health liaison teams”, are made up of doctors (including consultant psychiatrists), psychologists,
mental health nurses and social workers.

The SWYFPT website says that the RAID teams provide a rapid assessment for people in A&E and for people who are hospital inpatients. After assessment, patients who are assessed as having mental health problems will be offered help which could be:

  • Continued assessment by the RAID team
  • Referral to other specialist mental health services
  • Referral to services provided by other NHS or social care organisations
  • Referral to intensive home based treatment
  • Inpatient admission (if being seen in A&E)
  • Advice about local voluntary organisations that can provide further help

2 thoughts on “Mental health services upheaval in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield

  1. There is so much in the media at the moment about how 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems .. so why are they cutting funding on an evergrowing problem ?? I got sent all the way to macclesfield for treatment last year .. People in a mental health crisis need time to sort their heads out in a safe environment and rushing them straight back home will do more harm than good .. This is genuinely quite scary.

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