Plans to change mental health support in Wakefield is revealed

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Changes to the way mental health support is delivered in Wakefield have been given backing by the city’s health chiefs.

Plans to build an “alliance” of eight organisations in the district will see recovery plans for patients shared between the city’s authorities, a Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) meeting was told.

It means groups such as the police and Wakefield Council will be made aware of the conditions people are living with, if they come into contact with them, and they will be able to handle them accordingly.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the South West Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, said the plans would make Wakefield a “centre of excellence” for mental health support.

He said that while organisations like the CCG, council and talking therapies agency Turning Point were already working together, improving communication between them would improve care.

He said: “Doing nothing is not an option.

“We want a system in use that, if you’ve got someone living in Wakefield and they need help, everyone in the alliance knows what that care plan is. Everyone in that system has a role in supporting that person.”

Mr Webster said that the new system would concentrate on helping people in their daily lives, rather than on sectioning patients at Wakefield’s pyschiatric hospital, Fieldhead.

“What we’re dealing with here is not the hospital building with the big fences at Fieldhead. It’s about what we’re doing in the community that matters.”

The CCG was told that the life expectancy of a young male in West Yorkshire who’d been in touch with the health service about mental health was 18 years shorter than average.

Mr Webster said that although there would be challenges in delivering the scheme, but added, “If you get through those and focus on the individual in front of you who’s going to die 18 years sooner because they have a mental health problem.”

CCG chair Dr Phillip Earnshaw promised “strong support” for the scheme. Details about its cost will emerge later in the year.

Dr Earnshaw said: “This is definitely the direction of travel in which we want to go, if this is what integrated care brings.

“I’d like to know what GPs’ role in all of this will be.

“I saw 20 patients yesterday, and of those three were in complete mental health crisis. And that’s just in a morning’s general practice. ”