Mental Health Services (Norfolk and Suffolk)

Part of Petition - Proposed Closure of Accrington Victoria NHS Walk-in Centre – in the House of Commons at 7:22 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich 7:22 pm, 2nd May 2018

I thank my constituency neighbour for that intervention. I entirely agree with everything he says, although I am not sure it is quite so pioneering—I think the hospitals in London would probably disagree with that. There is a lot of good work going on in London built around exactly that sort of model of more integrated care.

One of the challenges faced by the trust in the past, and which mental health trusts in general face, is the failure of many partner organisations to properly engage on issues such as the provision of adequate social care for patients with chronic and long-term mental illness and dementia. There is also the failure of housing providers to be involved and of the police to be properly involved. There is a big overlap between some people with mental ill health and presentation to the police, when they would be better looked after by the NHS.

This project is the right way forward, with more integration of services and better integration between mental and physical health. Many patients with chronic mental health needs have physical health problems. They are sometimes a side-effect of the drugs, but are often a result of a chaotic lifestyle. Better joined-up working with the local NHS undoubtedly has to be a good thing. For that to be effective, however, as we have seen in some pilot projects in London, there needs to be the funding to deliver it. The mental health trust is not in the best financial shape—I will come on to that later—and support from the Government through funding for this innovative way of working, which I think is certainly a first in a rural area, would be very welcome. I hope the Minister may be able to provide some reassurance on that this evening.