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Mental Health

Mental health hospital in York gets green light

Ian Snug

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Plans to build a new mental health hospital in York have been given the green light by NHS bosses.

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The hospital new mental health hospital, which will hold 72 beds in four 18-bed wards, will be based on the former Vickers and Bio-Rad factory site in Haxby Road, York. The facility is said to be needed following the closure of Bootham Park Hospital in 2015.

The closure of Bootham Park Hospital occurred in 2015 after Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors said there were serious risks to patients, along with poor hygiene and too few staff.

The closure of Bootham Park Hospital left no inpatient NHS mental health hospital service in the area for a year but patients were relocated to other facilities.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which is behind the plan, said it was due to be completed in 2019.

Nick Land, medical director at the Trust, said: “People across the Vale of York deserve to have access to the best possible mental health care and this includes having a state-of-the-art hospital.

“The Haxby Road site has the space and layout we need to build a purpose designed hospital, that will support 21st Century care and I’m delighted that the proposal has been given the green light.

“Although we want to make sure that people can receive the care and treatment they need at home whenever possible, it’s also important that they are able to access a bed when they need one.

“Some people were worried that we wouldn’t have sufficient beds and we have listened to their concerns.

Mental Health

Cuts to mental health services leave staff facing violence and aggression

James M

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Union says that reduced funding to mental health services across the UK is leaving staff vulnerable to violence and aggression from patients.

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The report, Struggling to Cope, paints a bleak picture of the country’s mental health services – for both staff and users. It is based on a survey of over 1,000 mental health employees across the UK, who work in a range of roles – with children and adults in hospitals, in secure units and out in the community.

42% of staff said they had been on the receiving end of violent attacks in the last year while 36% said they had witnessed violent incidents involving patients attacking their colleagues. Comments from some staff suggest that “violent or aggressive incidents happen on a daily basis”, and that they “go with the job”.

One worker described being “repeatedly punched to the floor”, while others spoke of “attempted strangulation”, or being head-butted, spat on, kicked and bitten.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health for Unison, said:

“These findings highlight a range of deep-rooted issues in mental health services that need to be addressed urgently.

“The lack of prevention and absence of early intervention services mean that by the time many people access help, they are already very ill and at crisis point.

“Severe staff shortages mean there are fewer mental health employees to deal with a rising number of users with complex needs. As a result, many staff are having to work alone, making violent attacks more likely. It’s no wonder so many are planning on leaving for less stressful, safer work elsewhere.”

The news comes only a week after the RCN called for an “urgent review” of hospital staffing levels after they warned patient safety and dignity is being put at risk by over-stretched services.

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Mental Health

NHS to recruit 21,000 Mental Health workers in England

James M

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The health secretary has said thousands more mental health workers are to be recruited by the NHS in England.

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The £1.3 billion pound drive is promised to increase the number of nurses, therapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to treat an extra one million people and provide services seven days a week.

Jeremy Hunt has promised to end the “historic imbalance” between mental and physical health services. He went on to say that the measures were “ambitious” and amounted to “one of the biggest expansions of mental health services in Europe”.

The aim is to recruit enough nurses and support staff to treat an extra one million patients by 2020-21 but with over 30,000 current NHS vacancies unions are critical as to where these staff will come from.

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who helped develop the plan, said; “You would expect to see a consultant if you had cancer and the same applies for mental health. The biggest challenge to creating robust mental health services is the workforce. I am very supportive of this strategy which starts to tackle that problem.”

However, the Royal College of Nursing said the plans did not add up, and more “hard cash” would be needed if the new staff were to be trained in time.

“If these nurses were going to be ready in time, they would be starting training next month,” said RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies.

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