Briefing for Rachel Reeves MP

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Young people’s mental health is a ‘worsening crisis’. 

Action is needed writes Mary O’Hara in The Guardian 31/7/2018 ‘Whatever the language deployed to describe the scale of mental health challenges facing Britain’s young people, it has to be addressed immediately.’

NHS figures published last month revealed that almost 400,000 children and young people aged 18 and under are in contact with the health service for mental health problems. According to the figures, the number of “active referrals” by GPs in April was a third higher than the same period two years prior. Those seeking help for conditions such as depression and anxiety showed a sharp increase….

Demand for help is up, but services are diminishing…. The revelation in November 2017 that two-thirds of children referred for specialist mental healthcare are not receiving treatment ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Current situation in Leeds:  Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) are provided by the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust says the CAMHS website. CAMHS is a specialist mental health service for children and young people. Staff are highly trained in a range of different assessment techniques and evidence-based therapies. Staff work closely in teams so that they can offer services tailored to the needs of children, young people and families.

For a very small number of young people, highly intensive assessment and treatment packages are needed. Leeds CAMHS has both intensive outreach and inpatient services. Little Woodhouse Hall is the adolescent inpatient unit in Leeds. It is for young people up to the age of 18. There are 8 residential places there but there is are no Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Leeds. Some years ago, 16 and 17-year-olds even 15-year-olds with challenging behaviours used to be put on adult mental health in-patient wards but we campaigned against that.

More recently young people are sent to Out of Area Treatments (OATs), mainly to the Cheadle Royal Priory, a private hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester or to an NHS adolescent unit at Middlesbrough if they need to be in a PICU, both of which are about 50 miles away from Leeds. This distance must put great strain and cost on families, as well as create difficulties in continuity of treatment and care planning.

Plans for new £13m CAMHS unit to be shared with public

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust is inviting the public to a drop-in information session where proposals for a new inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) unit will be unveiled.

The proposed new unit will provide crucial specialist support to young people with mental health problems on the St Mary’s Hospital site in Armley.

The drop-in event is to be held between 3.30pm and 7pm on Thursday 13 September in the Class Room, Holly House, St Mary’s Hospital, Green Hill Rd, Leeds, LS12 3QE. Free parking, including disabled parking, is available directly outside the Holly House building.

It is an opportunity for people to view and comment on plans prior to submission of a planning application. Service, construction and design representatives will be on hand to answer any questions.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that Interserve Construction Limited had been appointed as the Trust’s construction partner for development of the prospective £13m unit – which got the go ahead following a successful bid for NHS funding led by Leeds Community Healthcare.

Thea Stein, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive, said: “It is very important to the Trust that the voice of young people, families, staff and the local community has a strong presence in the development of the new unit and we will continue to work together to make sure we get it right.”

If you can’t attend the event but would like further information, or if you have any special requirements, please contact Samantha Hirst, Communications and Engagement Manager on 0113 843 1204 or email Samantha.Hirst2@nhs.net

You can also keep up-to-date with the latest on the project by visiting: https://www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/

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What is proposed. This is fantastic news for the development of children’s and young people’s mental health services in West Yorkshire, at last. The new residential unit, proposed for the Leeds and York Partnership Trust’s site, but run by the Leeds Community Healthcare Trust and funded by £13 million from NHS England, will have 18 residential places and 4 in a PICU, totaling 22 for West Yorkshire. It is to be built on part of the St Mary’s Hospital site on Greenhill Road in Armley which has mainly been cleared of services in recent years. It is likely that the old hospital in the centre of the site which is a listed building will be sold for apartments, perhaps for hospital staff. Unfortunately, although space has been provided there is no funding for a crisis assessment unit for children and young people.

I attended the public drop-in for the new in-patient CAMHS unit and met the architects and various professionals and was impressed by the building, but I had some concerns about it being institutional, overlooking the cemetery, and isolated from the local community. Young patients had been actively involved with planning the interior and facilities of the building.

Opportunities for the local community

  1. This must be a good opportunity for employment in the development of jobs in both building and running the new unit. How can we promote this to ensure local people are trained to take up work?
  2. Young people and their families, and workers, are likely to travel to the unit from across the north of England, with consequent opportunities for the improvement of transport to St Mary’s Hospital. What financial support will be available to carers for traveling?
  3. The multinational out-sourcing company, Interserve, has been chosen to both build the unit and provide the staff to run it. I am concerned that Interserve appears to have financial difficulties, reminiscent of Carillion.

Interserve shares dive on rising concerns over future

Simon Jack, Business editor @BBCSimonJack 13/11/2018

“A former big shareholder in construction and facilities management company Interserve has told the BBC he is doubtful the firm can survive. Shares hit a 30-year low on Monday and are down a further 15% on Tuesday. “We could be looking at another Carillion. I don’t see how they can raise the £500m or so needed,” he said. However, two different sources close to the company denied the firm was close to bankruptcy and said it was set to ask new investors for more capital. Interserve, a major UK government contractor, sells services, including probation, cleaning and healthcare, and is involved in construction projects. The company is making more than £100m in cash and although the construction business has got a few problems, the core facilities management business is doing well, according to people who attended a recent management meeting. One source added that the sharp falls in Interserve’s share price reflected the growing realisation that existing investors will get a worse deal than those prepared to commit fresh cash.”

  1. The young people who are admitted to the unit will be some of the most distressed; experiencing for example, initial onset of schizophrenia, severe eating disorders and be at great risk of suicide and self-harm. I propose a local community centre, preferably on the hospital site which does not have a workers’ café anymore.  HMP Leeds has the Jigsaw voluntary organization on-site to welcome families at a distressing time, with activities for adults and children and food and drink. This might be a useful model.

14/11/2018