Mental health chiefs say people from Hartlepool are still accessing an urgent service despite it being relocated to Middlesbrough.
People in distress who are detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act are now assessed at a new Tees Wide Crisis Assessment Suite at Roseberry Park in Middlesbrough instead of Sandwell Park, in Lancaster Road.
The Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, which operates both sites says despite the move the numbers of people from Hartlepool receiving the assessments have stayed largely the same.
And they told a meeting of Hartlepool council’s Adult Services Committee that the time to be assessed has shortened from up to four hours in Hartlepool to one hour 52 minutes at Roseberry Park.
Maureen Lockwood of Healthwatch Hartlepool said: “I find it difficult personally, for example if a member of my family was in an acute state and in need of urgent help, you have to get them to Middlesbrough to be seen.”
Rebecca O’Keefe, of the health trust, said: “The Crisis Assessment Suite is manned 24 hours a day. Previously at Sandwell Park that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“Yes, for all the assessment suite has moved to Middlesbrough, what we find is assessments are moving much more quickly and with the right people involved.”
Between last September and November the Middlesbrough suite had 35 Hartlepool patients referred for a number of reasons including 8 for assessment under the Mental Health Act.
The Hartlepool Crisis Team continues to provide other urgent mental health services at Sandwell Park from 8am to 8pm.