Severe Psychiatric Care ‘Shame’ In The North West

Seriously ill psychiatric patients in the north west get less crisis care than anywhere else in the country, a shocking new report reveals.

The region’s mental health trusts have fewer teams of specialist staff to help people with severe conditions – like schizophrenia and manic depression – through short-term crises, says the National Audit Office.

Crisis resolution teams made up of psychiatric nurses, consultant psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists are a key part of the government’s plan to improve care for the one in six adults who suffer from a mental health condition.

The north west teams have a quarter less resources than in the south and central regions.

The report is more bad news for Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT) which is being hit by a rolling strike by 100 community staff, was recently ranked as providing the third worst community care in the country and put in special financial measures to tackle a predicted £2.5m debt.

Trust bosses say they are trying to bring in a programme of improvements, including crisis resolution teams but the changes have been delayed by 14 days of industrial action.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of NHS North West, said the report was `useful’. He added: `It will help us to identify where improvements are most needed.”

Patient watchdog representative Joel Rickman questioned the use of investment by the trust.

He said: “Despite money being given to the trust it will take a long time to come up to standards. It would appear as thought they have left things very late.”

North west health bosses announced a wide-ranging review of the region’s mental health services in September and the results are expected next year.

Almost 100 community workers, who care for 1,000 seriously-ill psychiatric patients in Manchester, have been on continuous walkout for four weeks since union representative and senior nurse Karen Reissmann was sacked for talking to the media.