HEALTH chiefs have been urged to increase the number of mental healthcare beds available for young people in a rallying call from Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin.
The West Worcestershire MP made the call in a letter to the chief executive of Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, Sarah Dugan, in response to a review of services already being carried out by the trust.
Although the trust has said it is looking at the number of beds available for local patients, Mrs Baldwin hopes bosses will seize the opportunity to increase the availability of beds for young people and adults needing inpatient care.
After speaking to a group of young people who have raised concerns about the local of beds available for those who need urgent help in Worcestershire, Mrs Baldwin said the message to the trust was more beds, not fewer.
“As a Government we are committed to improving mental health services and we have already legislated for parity of esteem between physical and mental health conditions and Ministers are going further to support children and young people who suffer mental health problems,” Mrs Baldwin said.
“Only last month I spoke to a group of young people who were concerned about the local mental healthcare provision and the lack of beds available for those who need urgent help in the county.
“From my own casework, I know that some of these patients have to be transported hundreds of miles away to get access to a bed and I would urge the trust to look at this situation and make sure that we don’t further reduce the access to beds.
“The Hadley Unit at Worcestershire Royal is an impressive unit and we have a number of good private care facilities for people with acute psychiatric conditions.
“The message must be that we need more, not fewer, beds in the county to help the most vulnerable in our society,” she added.
A Worcestershire Health and Care Trust spokesperson said: “The quality of a mental health service shouldn’t be judged only by the number of beds, but rather by the overall effectiveness of the care provided to help someone in their recovery.
“The Trust has carried out widespread discussions with current/previous users of adult mental health services, their carers and other members of our communities to develop proposals for a new approach which we are currently out to consultation on.
The consultation closes on September 28 and we would urge anyone with a view on this to get involved online at www.hacw.nhs.uk/amhconsultation.”