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Mental health services in Preston struggling to cope as appointments cancelled

Posted on - 7th January, 2016 - 1:54pm | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Riversway
Those needing help are being urged to call a mental health helpline Pic: David Goehring

Those needing help are being urged to call a mental health helpline Pic: David Goehring

Preston’s mental health teams are struggling to cope as demand for their services increases after Christmas.

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Outpatients were told on Tuesday there would be no appointments for the next week at the West Strand site.

The team at the Strand Road centre in the Riversway area are reportedly struggling to find bed spaces at mental health centres and in the community for more than 90 patients.

Counsellors are cancelling planned appointments and being sent out into the community, where many people who need care are being housed.

One concerned Blog Preston reader, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve got a family member just starting treatment.

“They had an outpatient appointment and was told her usual counsellor was on call so there would be no appointments until next week.

“It’s worrying as this is a time of year when people really start to suffer.”

Health bosses confirmed they were experiencing an increase in people seeking help.

Sue Moore, chief operating officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is currently an increased demand for healthcare services across the county, and this includes the Trust.

“At this time we are experiencing a higher than usual demand for mental health beds and the number of patients that we have been able to discharge has been minimal, creating a lack of available beds.

“Working alongside our partners, a number of measures have been put in place to create capacity and ensure the continuity of care. The situation is dynamic and improving and our focus remains on robustly managing demand until our activity patterns return to normal levels.

“In order to ensure that the services under the most pressure are resourced and fully supported, staff from community services have been temporarily re-deployed and the decision has been taken to suspend all planned or non-urgent appointments until this Friday 8 January and some elements of our community services will continue with these arrangements until 15 January. Our staff will be contacting patients to re-arrange appointments at the earliest opportunity and to signpost them to alternative support, should they require this.”

The Trust is asking anyone concerned about their mental health to call the wellbeing and mental health helpline on 0800 915 4640.

Have you been affected by this? What’s your experience of mental health services in Preston? Let us know in the comments below

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