Trust success in help for Portsmouth mental health patients

HELP Solent NHS Trust has seen its home treatment team enjoy positive results, despite criticism that, nationally, not enough is being done to help mental health patients
HELP Solent NHS Trust has seen its home treatment team enjoy positive results, despite criticism that, nationally, not enough is being done to help mental health patients

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THE trust that provides mental health services in Portsmouth said it is bucking the national trend when it comes to ensuring patients do not have to go out of the area to get treatment.

Solent NHS Trust, which provides mental health services for the city, said its specialist team has helped reduce the number of patients being admitted to hospital.

The trust, which is commissioned by the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and Portsmouth City Council, developed the 24-hour Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment (CRHT) team.

Last year, the set-up of psychiatrists, nurses, social care staff and support workers saw 433 different service users, who would have been admitted to hospital.

Thanks to their work, 537 admissions were prevented, the equivalent of saving a 20-bed ward.

Nationally, there has been criticism that mental health bed closures has resulted in people being treated out of the area.

Matthew Hall, the Solent trust’s operations director for adult mental health, said: ‘We have the third lowest mental health beds per head of population in England – roughly half the average, so the problem others experience is not necessarily caused by numbers of beds.

‘Our five-year-old community service model, CRHT, which we have developed along with our commissioners, has been key to our success. Our CRHT provides care at home for people who may be at risk of admission – effectively stopping them from unnecessary hospital admission.

‘This approach does not really save money – it is about helping to keep people at home.

‘This is important, because admission to hospital can cause loss of skills in people who are already vulnerable.

‘CRHT works with people to treat them at home and resolve the problems that are causing them to be in crisis.’

Yesterday, a Freedom of Information Act request found nationally there has been a nine-per-cent reduction in the total number of mental health beds available.

In 2011/12, the figure stood at 18,924, with closures coming from hospital adult wards, older people’s wards and psychiatric intensive care units.