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New plans for mental health services in south Cumbria

New plans have been announced to improve mental health services in south Cumbria with the aim of delivering better health and better care to the population of Morecambe Bay.

Adult Mental Health Services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Learning Disability services will be provided by Lancashire Care Foundation Trust from October 2019 as part of the ambitions of the Bay Health & Care Partners.

The new arrangements will provide a renewed focus on improving mental health services in South Cumbria and taking the next steps towards integrated physical, mental and social care services across the Bay.

These services will be transferring from Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust (CPFT) to Lancashire Care Foundation Trust (LCFT) on 1 October 2019 following agreement between the two organisations and Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

This follows the agreement earlier in the year to transfer mental health services in the North of the County from CPFT to Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust by the same date.

Geoff Joliffe, Clinical Chair of Morecambe Bay CCG said: “We are pleased that the transfer of mental health services in South Cumbria to Lancashire Care Foundation Trust has been agreed, and would like to reassure patients, carers and families that the transfer will not affect the current availability and provision of services.

“It is important that our communities and staff living and working in south Cumbria know that mental health services will still be delivered in south Cumbria by the same people.

“In the best interest of the patients and staff, all organisations involved in the transfer are committed to working together. The transfer will be undertaken safely and effectively, and a plan to improve services will be developed within South Cumbria over the next 12 months.”

Jerry Hawker, Chief Officer of Morecambe Bay CCG commented: “We are excited about our ambitions to transform services in South Cumbria and address the concerns that patients and families have shared with us. Our plans will include setting out how the services in key risk areas will be transformed; such as CAMHS in South Cumbria and the urgent mental health care pathway across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The CCG has committed to a significant investment in mental health service in 2019 to support the improvement in local services in-line with the new NHS plan.”

Engagement with staff, patients and members of the public will be taking place in the upcoming months, with Morecambe Bay CCG having begun engagement with clinical leaders from both CPFT and LCFT in developing a model for mental health care delivery in Morecambe Bay following recent listening events with the public and stakeholders.

Now that the transfer has been jointly agreed, CPFT and LCFT, supported by Morecambe Bay CCG, will meet with staff affected in South Cumbria to involve them in the design and delivery of future arrangements and address any concerns and issues staff may have.

The organisations involved in the transfer will include: Morecambe Bay CCG, CPFT and LCFT, supported by NHS England & NHS Improvement and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW).

Tim Farron MP said: “The future of our mental health services has been left in limbo these past few months and so it’s good that today we’ve finally been given clarity.

“Cumbria Partnership Trust have shown a complete lack of leadership and have badly let down both mental health professionals and patients, so it can only be a positive that they will no longer be in charge of our vital mental health services.

“Another positive to come from this news is that it we will see the promised £1m for Kentmere mental health ward delivered, which will be a huge boost.

“However, I do have some concerns about today’s announcement. Lancashire Care Trust were found as ‘requiring improvement’ by the CQC – we simply cannot end up in a situation where the mental health of people in South Cumbria are continued to be treated as an afterthought in the same way that they were by the Partnership Trust.”

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