Calls for return of Mulberry unit after ‘concrete evidence’ of its importance to Angus mental health patients

Calls for return of Mulberry unit after ‘concrete evidence’ of its importance to Angus mental health patients

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Hundreds join Angus mental health group set up in wake of controversial Mulberry Unit closure


Jill Scott

More than 450 people have signed up to a self-help group set up in the wake of a mental health unit closure in Angus.

Brechin Community Council said the response to the Stop Mental Health Stigma association exposed a “huge gap” in services required by people suffering from depression.

Chairwoman Jill Scott said it was a “scandal” that sufferers were having to “sort out their situation” themselves following the shutdown of the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital.

Angus Health and Social Care Partnership hit back at the criticism and said it was “encouraging” that a local group of people had come together to support one another and address mental health stigma.

Mrs Scott said: “It is a very sad reflection on Angus Health and Social Care Partnership that at a time when the mental health of our community is a growing concern that the first rate Mulberry Unit is being hived off for alternative use.

“Members of the public, sufferers of depression and people of influence in Angus Health and Social Care Partnership all recognise the problem but it comes down to the patients themselves who are having to sort out their situation.

“I am full of admiration, as an individual, as is Brechin Community Council, for these people but I despair for the future.

Richard May (Organiser) speaks to Eryn Gaffney (22), Claire Coleman (33) and Laura Greig (29) at the drop in group

“It is a scandal that mental health is treated as a poor relation. Patients have been hung out to dry.”

The Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital in Angus was finally closed earlier this year and patients were transferred to the Carseview Centre in Dundee.

Richard May, 45, who suffers from depression, set up Stop Mental Health Stigma three weeks ago and his ultimate goal is to eventually put in place a 24-hour mental health facility.

“There is just not enough being done for people struggling with mental health issues,” he said.

“Too many suffer in silence and feel alone but we are getting people out of their houses and it’s changing lives in a very positive way.”

The group meet in Montrose on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Brechin on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Mr May, who lives in Montrose, started the group after being overwhelmed by the response when he put up a Facebook post admitting he was suffering from depression.

The Mulberry Unit was based in the £20 million Susan Carnegie Centre.

Bill Troup, Head of Mental Health Services, Angus Community Health Partnership said “self-management” is an element of mental health treatment.

He added: “Other local services that are available in Angus include self help groups, listening services, health and wellbeing, befriending and community mental health.

“Multidisciplinary Community Mental Health Teams are available in every town in Angus.

“It is important to remember that only six out of every 100 people who access mental health services each year need hospital care.

“With a greater focus on recovery and improved mental wellbeing in communities most people with a mental health problem are treated at home or in the community.


Link to Courier article here 

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Mental health service revamp across Tayside gains approval

The Carseview Centre

Health chiefs in Tayside have stated having two centres of excellence is the only safe way forward for inpatient mental health services.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board following months of consultation, campaigning and protest.

It will see general adult psychiatry acute admissions centralised at the Carseview Centre at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.

Learning disability inpatient services will be provided at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth alongside other specialist services, including rehabilitation and substance misuse.

The decision will see services relocated from the outdated Strathmartine Hospital and the Mulberry unit at Stracathro Hospital in Angus.

The board voted five to one (an abstention) in favour of the preferred option.

Clinicians believe the steps will secure the future of inpatient services, improve the quality of service and environment available to patients and make services more attractive to potential staff.

Individual health and social care partnerships in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross will be working to enhance mental and health and learning disability services in local communities, where 94% of mental health care is delivered.

More than 100,000 people took part in an often-criticised consultation process and more than 57% of those who responded said they were against the proposals.

NHS Tayside’s medical director Andy Russell, however, said the present model of care could not continue, with the redesign proposed “the only safe option”.


Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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Deep concern expressed over mental health beds drop in Tayside

The Carseview Centre.

“Deep concern” has been expressed over a 10% drop in acute mental health beds across Tayside over the past five years.

The number of beds for men and women dropped from 99 in 2013 to 90 last year.

Health chiefs said the reduction was due to a reconfiguration in Perth and the interim relocation of the Mulberry Unit in Angus to the Carseview Centre and insisted most patients were now treated in the community.

However, Angus MP Kirstene Hair is seeking a reassurance from NHS Tayside that the numbers will not fall any further.

She said a total of 44 beds were likely to be relocated from Murray Royal Hospital and the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro in Angus as part of a shake-up of mental health care, while a similar number will be set up in Dundee at Ninewells Hospital.

But she added: “This research finds that the number of beds for a growing problem is reducing anyway – which is of deep concern.

“There needs to be a reassurance from NHS Tayside this number will not shrink any more.”

Conservative MP Ms Hair said she was also concerned that there are no eating disorder beds locally, meaning people are still having to go to Aberdeen for specialist treatment.

“It’s my concern and that of many of my Angus constituents that local health services are disappearing in the background,” she added.

“It is only huge change, such as ward closures, which makes people sit up and take notice.”

Closure of the Mulberry ward at Stracathro Hospital has been identified as the preferred option in a programme to address what officials have described as an unsustainable model for mental health care across the region.

Perth and Kinross integration joint board will have the final say on the package next week.

The move is likely to mean the axe for the Angus unit while general adult psychiatry acute care will be provided from four wards at Dundee’s Carseview Centre, along with learning disability inpatient services from three wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.

Chief officer for Perth and Kinross health and social care partnership Robert Packham said only around 6% of people who access mental health services each year need hospital care.”

He acknowledged there had been a small reduction in the number of acute general adult psychiatry beds in the last five years, adding: “This is due to the reconfiguration of Moredun Ward at Murray Royal into separate male and female environments, and the interim relocation of the Mulberry Unit to the Carseview Centre.

“We have also been redesigning services to adapt to the changing needs of our populations and new services have been introduced to manage people in crisis and support people to remain at home,” said Mr Packham.

“Our communities would expect treatment to be available to them and their families when it is required and we remain committed to ensuring our patients can access the best treatment in the most appropriate place.”


Link to Courier article here 

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Number of patients going missing from local mental health units ‘treble’

The number of patients going missing from Carseview has risen sharply.


More than one patient a week goes missing from mental health hospitals in Tayside, new figures have shown.

And the number of patients who go missing from Carseview more than trebled in the 10 months up to November this year, compared with the whole of 2016.

Figures provided to the Tele show between 76 and 84 patients were classed as missing from the region’s psychiatric units in 2017.

There were 36 people unaccounted for at the Carseview Centre this year, compared with just 11 in the previous 12 months.

Another 17 people from the Dudhope Centre — a young people’s inpatient unit (YPU) — also went missing this year, down from 35 in 2016.

The YPU is a mental health facility where young people who encounter emotional difficulties or a psychiatric illness affecting them and their families can spend time as an inpatient.

Dundee-based Conservative MSP Bill Bowman (pictured right) said: “This issue comes up year after year and I would like to know what attempts are made to find these patients.

“We are talking about some extremely vulnerable people that could be at significant risk — they cannot simply be treated as out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

“I’d be interested to know if the spike in numbers going missing from Carseview can be attributed in part to an increase in referrals, following the decision to close the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital.”

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: “NHS Tayside takes its duty of care to patients very seriously and has procedures for staff to follow in the case of a missing patient, developed in partnership with Police Scotland.

“The data collected within NHS Tayside does not separate the categories of absent and missing.

“A person may be absent for various reasons, including a late return to hospital from a visit home or an appointment, but that episode would be included within the data in the missing persons category.

“Unless patients are being detained in a secure facility, they are free to leave and can discharge themselves at any time, even against medical advice.”



Read Evening Telegraph article here

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Relocation of local services will be ‘a travesty for people struggling with mental health’

The Carseview Centre, beside Ninewells

Tayside health bosses are set to press ahead with the relocation of major mental health services, in the face of widespread opposition.

A consultation on moving all acute mental health services for the region to Dundee’s Carseview Centre — resulting in the closure of the recently renovated Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital — ended in October.

The survey also asked for views on the relocation of learning disability services from Carseview and Strathmartine Hospital to wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.

Service users, the public and community groups from Dundee, Perth and Angus all voiced their disapproval of the plans — but health bosses at the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board, which will make a final decision on the plans in January, have indicated they intend to carry out the “necessary” changes.

A draft feedback statement said: “It is clear from the consultation that the majority of people would prefer to receive their health care close to where they live.

“The challenge to mental health services is balancing this with the need to provide safe inpatient services which are high quality and provide best value for money.”

During the feedback, 57% opposed relocating Tayside’s acute mental health services to Carseview, in Tom McDonald Avenue.

In addition, 59% of respondents were against relocating all inpatient learning disability services to Perth.

The Susan Carnegie Centre, at Stracathro Hospital, which houses the Mulberry unit.

Several community and support groups expressed “major” concerns about rural patients’ ability to access services should the move go ahead.

However, health bosses believe centralising services is the “safest, most sustainable” way of looking after patients.

The preferred option is expected to be formally approved in January, with refurbishment of Carseview commencing in November 2018 and the full “transformation” programme completed by June 2020.

Phil Welsh, whose son Lee was found dead at his home in Dundee’s West End in July having experienced mental health problems for a decade, said the plan was “a travesty” for people with mental health problems in Tayside.

Phil said: “What you are going to have is people who are experiencing mental health problems, that need to be seen by a crisis team rapidly, having to get to Dundee on a bus, in a taxi or relying on someone to give them a lift. It is putting stress onto people who are already in a very stressful situation.”

Mairi Gougeon, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said: “I’m absolutely staggered that I am learning about this proposal through the media and not directly from anyone at NHS Tayside.

“However, sadly, it is in keeping with the way this entire consultation process has been conducted. I still firmly believe that the consultation process was biased, over-complicated and heavily weighted towards the preferred option.”

North East region MSP Liam Kerr described the consultation process as “a sham”.

He said: “I have real concerns about contingency plans if something goes wrong at Carseview, once the dust settles.”

Robert Packham (right), chief officer for Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This feedback forms a critical part of the evidence which will be presented to the NHS Tayside board and the Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross Integration Joint Board during December and January.

“If the preferred option is approved, NHS Tayside and the health and social care partnerships are committed to continuing conversations with staff, service users, carers, partner organisations and local communities to address the issues they have raised and look at ways of minimising the impact of the proposed changes.”



Link to Evening Telegraph here 

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