Resource shortage denied

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MENTAL health bosses have hit back at claims from a leading charity that they are understaffed by saying they have “doubled” staffing levels in the past six months.

Statistics provided by the mental health charity, Mind, claims that staffing levels at the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust were 38 per cent below the established benchmark of 14 staff for every 25 service users.

The charity have also criticised mental health care services in Wigan and across the country, claiming crisis care services are “under-resourced, understaffed and overstretched.”

However, bosses at Wigan’s mental health care trust say that while they agree with Mind in parts, they have addressed staffing and service issues.

A spokesperson for the 5 Boroughs said: “This data was taken before we implemented our new Acute Care Pathway and Home Treatment teams in June. We have almost doubled our staffing levels in these teams and are now operating above this benchmark.

“Like Mind we recognise the need to improve access to support at times of crisis which is why in June this year we launched our new acute care pathway in Adult Services across our footprint.

“Our new enhanced Assessment Teams offer 24-hour access while our new dedicated Home Treatment Teams work closely with our community teams to provide an alternative to hospital admission. The redesigned process was fully informed by the needs expressed by our service users and carers across the Trust.”

Mind say there is not an adequate level of help available to those in need.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We are deeply concerned that some crisis care services appear to be struggling to support people with mental health problems when they need help the most. We know that excellent crisis care exists, but we need it available to everyone, regardless of where they live.

“Good services can make a huge difference to whether someone recovers from the crisis, yet Mind often hears from people who have been turned away because they ‘aren’t suicidal enough’ or who have been made to wait around for hours just to be seen by someone who can help them. An emergency is an emergency.”