Media Release - 29/06/11
A proposal released to staff and unions today outlines a change in focus for Canterbury Adult Mental Health Services, in line with developments around the country.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) Specialist Mental Health Services General Manager Sandra Walker says a five-year framework for adult mental health was released last year, which firmly acknowledged the community is the centre of care provision
“A team of clinical staff has worked together to develop a plan for adult general services that designs services based on the patient journey. This proposal is the result of that thinking,” Sandra says.
“We have come a long way since the days of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, and know from experience the ability to maintain community links for people experiencing periods of unwellness greatly enhances their recovery.”
The proposal is about shifting some of the CDHB’s resources from inpatient to community based settings, supporting service users as close to their home environment as possible, she says.
“We are also working with a strong base of existing community providers, many of whom are contracted by the DHB to support for people with specific mental health needs.”
Specialist Mental Health Services in Canterbury has about 1200 staff and does not expect any job losses once the finalised plan is implemented.
“We are keen to retain the skill and experience of our valued staff and much of the plan revolves around realigning mental health teams into four service areas, each with inpatient capacity but with a far greater community based presence,” Sandra says.
“We are entering a period of six weeks consultation with staff and unions followed by four weeks to consider feedback, after which the plan will be finalised and implemented.”
Sandra says the proposal builds on successful community-led models of care in place around the country and features mobile crisis resolution teams and work extended hours.
There will be a greater availability of community-based beds for people needing short-term respite and intervention and more support for home-based care that maintains the traditional supports of the service user. Another feature is the enhanced support for other community based professionals involved in the care of people experiencing an episode of unwellness.
“The major implications of this proposal are in the place of work and the way we work and the facilities we use. There will be realignment of beds and some redevelopment of facilities, particularly at the Hillmorton site,” she says.
“Given the level thinking that has gone into this proposal, we are looking forward to both the consultation process and the implementation of the finalised proposal. This will be a real step forward in the provision of mental health services in the region.”