Council looks to shut three mental health day centres

THREE day centres for people with mental health needs could close in Notts.The county council is expected to launch a consultation into shutting the centres in Beeston, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Worksop.

The move is part of a shake-up of the way the authority delivers care to people with mental illnesses, such as depression or schizophrenia.

Officers say the move will save £400,000 a year.

Instead of going to day centres, people with mental health needs will be given personal budgets. This will enable them to choose what type of social care they would like, providing it meets their needs.

Should councillors agree to the plans following a consultation, the centres could be shut from next September.

The Government has asked all local authorities to put everyone with mental health needs onto personal budgets by the end of 2011.

There are currently 40 people in Notts with mental health issues who receive a personal budget – but that figure is set to rise to 3,000.

The centres – Middle Street in Beeston; the Rokerfield Centre in Sutton and the Boundary Centre in Worksop – provide activities for people during the day time, often giving respite for their carers.

The personal budgets will allow for people to continue doing activities at a place of their choice. The council says it will help people stay in contact with friends made at the centres, if that is wanted.

Councillors on the authority’s cabinet are meeting on July 14 to decide on the launch of a consultation, which will run until October 6.

Councillor Kevin Rostance, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “These are just plans at this stage and we want to hear people’s views.

“We are proposing to redirect money from paying for buildings into paying for services.

“The proposals also aim to make all mental health services in Notts equitable, no matter where people live.

“Many people are already benefiting from personal budgets and community-based services. Personal budgets are a national scheme which we must offer.

“Unfortunately, we can’t continue to pay for all our traditional services as well as provide money for personal budgets – we just can’t pay for things twice.

“We also plan to offer a more intensive period of support for people who are showing early signs of mental illness. We believe this will help prevent the deterioration of their conditions and help them to continue living as independently as possible.”

Should the cabinet agree to the consultation, people can visit, phone 08449 80 80 80 or write to: Mental health day service consultation, Customer Service Centre, PO Box 9320, Nottingham, NG15 5BL. A series of consultation events will also take place.