Fears after closure of Hartlepool mental health unit

Sandwell Park.
Sandwell Park.

COUNCILLORS have called for an update on the impact of changes to mental health services in Hartlepool.

A facility at Sandwell Park Hospital in Hartlepool where police could take people with mental health problems previously closed.

Instead, people now have to travel to Roseberry Park Hospital in Middlesbrough.

It affected only the arrangements for people detained in public under the Mental Health Act.

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s adult services committee have asked for feedback on how the centralisation is affecting people in the town.

Mental health services in Hartlepool are provided by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust in an agreement with the council.

Councillor Stephen Thomas said: “We need feedback to the committee about how services are currently being provided and hard statistical evidence on the quality of the experiences of people in Hartlepool using the new designed service.

“There should be a body of evidence there that we can look at to see if concerns flagged up about a year ago about people having to go through to Roseberry Park in Middlesbrough and accessing crisis care beds have been addressed.

“Services have gone out of Hartlepool over the last couple of years from the mental health side.

“I think we need to say again, enough is enough.”

The Care Quality Commission watchdog carried out an announced visit to the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys trust in December when they interviewed patients, relatives, staff and carers, and looked at how it worked with partner agencies.

Patients and carers said they were treated with respect and courtesy by staff.

Some mental health workers raised concerns about the closure of some community resources but a review showed no patients who had used them was later admitted to hospital.

The review highlighted some patients experiencing long waits for ambulances to take them to hospital for which extra funding has been pledged by commissioners.

Two more posts within mental health teams have been funded in response to a separate Peer Challenge review of mental health services by the Local Government Association in November.