Delayed mental health services consultation 3/1/13
A delayed public consultation on changes to Western Isles mental health services
is expected to take place within weeks.
The health board’s preferred way forward would mean a reduced number of inpatient
beds at the Stornoway hospital and more care at home.
It is likely to see the replacement of the current two inpatient facilities - Acute
Psychiatric Unit and Clisham Ward in Western Isles Hospital - to a single unit for
both adult and old age psychiatry. The number of beds would be cut from 16 to around
eight or ten.
The board says modern community based services consist of teams of practitioners,
including specialist nurses and doctors and support workers but this cannot be developed
under the present system which sees staff and resources centred in Western Isles
A planned three-month consultation was meant to start in August. However, it was
postponed as it was not ready to go public.
It is unknown when it will get underway but is expected to be relatively soon. The
health board says details and dates have yet to be agreed.
Members of the public, service users, carers, staff, third sector partners, and other
stakeholders will be invited to take part in the consultation. Meetings will be held
across the islands.
Western Isles NHS says 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 could be improved to provide more robust local access to services
and support to service users closer to where they live.”
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.”
Ruled out is maintaining the present system of a five bed acute inpatient unit and
16 bed psychiatry old age unit, with no change in the current configuration of community
Also discarded is a proposal, favoured by the community of Barra, to develop a model
with no inpatient beds locally, with acute psychiatry patients requiring admission
to hospital being referred to mainland facilities.