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Fears over changes in mental health care

Families of patients with mental health problems fear the quality of care could suffer as the NHS struggles to make savings.

Families of patients with mental health problems fear the quality of care could suffer as the NHS struggles to make savings.

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) is proposing to change the way mental health services are delivered across the county.

It says this will help improve care standards while enabling it to save £13m over the next three years.

But the news has left families and mental health workers worried that patients will not get the same quality of care that they do now – and they say many are in the dark about the changes.

A health worker who asked not to be named said: "The model the CWP is proposing is support worker rather than nurse-led care.

"These are vulnerable people and I would not put a support worker in charge of their care because they don't have the necessary knowledge, skills or qualifications.

"It is another retraction of mental health services and the changes will be sneaked in through the back door as not enough is being done to publicise them and give people a chance to have their say."

The NHS has to make £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2014/15.

A CWP spokesman said: "The trust led a review of our community mental health services which included engagement with service users, carers, staff, commissioners, partners and representative groups in 2011.

"In addition we considered alternative community mental health service models in use nationally.

"It was clear following this review that improvements were required in respect of access to services, enhancing the focus on recovery, and making more effective use of staff resources."

The trust is now holding a 12-week public consultation to gauge public opinion on the planned changes. The next public meeting is today (October 31) at 1.30pm at Macclesfield Town Football Club.

For more information and to make your views known visit http://cwp.nhs.uk .

 

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