East Lancashire mental health shake-up concern

A FORMER care manager has voiced concerns over a fresh overhaul for mental health services in East Lancashire.

Several centre closures are in the pipeline as staff teams are merged within the county council’s mental health care services.

Support staff from Pendle will relocate to Burnley and Rossendale’s team will be combined with Hyndburn’s.

Centres like Accrington Wellbeing Project in Manchester Road, Stanley Villas in Albert Road, Colne, and a base in Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, will be axed.

The Mount, in Accrington, and the Fernandes Centre in Burnley will house the two new combined teams.

Social services bosses say the locations are now ‘rarely’ visited by people with mental health difficulties, as moves have been made over the past two years to reintegrate users back into the community.

But Alan Gray, former manager at Stanley Villas, said: “It was only last year that the service changed from day centres to a community restart programme.”

He said the changes represented another major upheaval for service users and would only cause concern.

Mike Banks, the county council’s head of active intervention and safeguarding, said: “At the moment these are only proposals — they would need official approval before they could go ahead.

“As these are staff who work alongside people in the community or in their own homes, there would be no loss of service.

“In fact placing them in offices together with their NHS colleagues would help to provide a more seamless service whilst saving money on accommodation.

“It would also enable us to extend the service in other areas, such as the Ribble Valley, where our present resources are more limited.”