Public Consultation on Mental Health Services to commence in April

A PUBLIC Consultation on Western Isles Health Board’s preferred option for Mental Health Services is due to start in April.

Option Appraisal meetings took place in Lewis, Uist and Barra in January 2012, when members of the public, staff and other partners met to consider and ‘score’ three options to modernise mental health services.

The highest scoring preferred option for the majority was Option 3, which would create an increase in community capacity by reducing inpatient facilities.

Following the Option Appraisal process, and approval of Option 3 as the preferred option by Western Isles Health Board, a three-month Public Consultation period was due to commence at the end of 2012.

However additional work was required prior to proceeding to consultation and this has delayed the process. The launch of the consultation is now set to take place on April 15th, with events being held over a three month period. Confirmed details of venues, etc will be made available shortly.

NHS Western Isles Medical Director Dr James Ward said: “Our aim is that high quality engagement and consultation with the public will take place over three months, when we can discuss the detail of acute service configuration, community service modelling and partnership.

“The consultation process will also allow for any specific concerns to be considered and discussed in detail.”

The case for changing the configuration of Mental Health Services is based on an understanding that the way services are currently set up in the Western Isles does not allow for an effective, locally delivered approach to mental health service provision.

Modern community based services consist of teams of practitioners, including specialist nurses and doctors and support workers, who often work closely with local authority and third sector colleagues to deliver effective integrated locally based services.

In the current model, such teams cannot be developed while capacity and manpower is centred in Western Isles Hospital.

Members of the public, service users, carers, staff, third sector partners, and other stakeholders are invited to take part in the consultation, and meetings will be held across the islands to ensure people are able to participate.