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Board of directors agree next steps for future of mental health and learning disability services in Cumbria

Stephen Eames

The board of directors at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has considered the outline business case for the provision of future of mental health and learning disability services in the county.

They agreed at their meeting last week that in principle, transferring services in north Cumbria to Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) would provide the best outcome for patients in the long term to improve the quality of services. The Trust’s increasingly strengthened partnership with NTW and the board of directors future role in providing integrated healthcare across north Cumbria have been important factors in the decision.

This means that in north Cumbria, the Trusts will now develop a full business case early next year with a view to transferring services to NTW in October 2019.  The full business case will need to address issues including the arrangements for services that are provided in north Cumbria but also serve the county.

In south Cumbria, the board of CPFT has delayed their judgement on progressing to a full business case pending the outcome of quality assurance work at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT).

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “When we started this piece of work I was clear that Cumbria needed support from regional partners in order to sustain and improve the quality of services for people living in Cumbria.   What has become apparent from the work we have done with NTW and LCFT to explore options, is that there are some excellent opportunities to strengthen service provision.  Our partnership with NTW is already helping us to make improvements to our services across the County with the appointment of Gary O Hare, who is also the Director of Nursing & Chief Operating Officer at NTW on a part time basis, and he has already provided staff to support and strengthen our services for children & young people.

“In south Cumbria, LCFT is also offering new services such as the perinatal community services and already provide pathways for more specialist services such as forensic services. We are committed to continue to build our partnership working however the Board has decided to delay judgement on progressing to develop a full business case until the quality assurance process for the south is complete.”

Tim Farron MP said: “Mental health services in South Cumbria are already in crisis, but this latest announcement from the Partnership Trust shows that the future of those services are being further left in limbo.

“Once again, the people of Cumbria are being treated as the end of the line, with us in the south of the country being treated as a poor relation to a poor relation.

“For the sake of the hundreds of people who find themselves in increasing desperate situations without mental health care, the Trust need to get their act together and fast.”

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