The Trust and its commissioners continue to work together to determine the range of mental health services that will be required for Lancashire in the future. Part of this involves determining how many beds will be needed in the future and on a broader scale what other types of services are needed to keep people well and supported within the community, which serves to prevent the need for admission in the first place.
Inpatient services are important and necessary for those people who are not well enough to be supported in the community and it is important to highlight that this is a small minority of the whole population and the majority of people can be supported by community teams. The Trust and commissioners have always been clear that the future model of care will be community based, supported with a pan-Lancashire network of beds.
Therefore the focus for the future is on keeping people well in the first place and further building resilient community services that are able to support people outside of hospital as far as possible. This is a sustainable model of care and also enables people to stay well, recover faster and achieve better outcomes than they would after a prolonged stay in hospital.
The future model for mental health services is being planned as part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Change programme. At present an options appraisal is being undertaken to determine the range and scope of provision for Lancashire in the future and this will also set out options for provision in Pennine Lancashire and Central Lancashire.
The option to purchase land and develop a mental health facility adjacent to the Royal Blackburn Hospital site remains. Among the range of options being considered is the original preferred option of redeveloping a site on the Royal Blackburn Hospital estate. This will help to manage the increase in patients presenting at A&E and will also further enhance joint working between mental health and A&E teams and complement additional provision that has been put in place at the hospital recently. This includes the development of a Crisis Support Unit and assessment beds that give people immediate assessment and support when they are most in need. This is providing a more responsive service to patients and also serves to take some pressure off A&E and mental health beds by avoiding a long term admission.
Further information about the options will be made available and engagement will be undertaken prior to a final proposal being presented to Lancashire scrutiny committees early in 2017.